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Kristine Palmieri joins the Vossius Center for three months in March 2020 as a Research Fellow with the project 'Philology as a Way of Knowing: Philology in the Reformed German Universities, 1750-1830'.

About the project

By explicitly moving beyond the limits of disciplinary history, I aim to provide a more nuanced and comprehensive account of philology that is especially sensitive to the ways that it developed due to the interactions of numerous intellectual, cultural, and institutional processes that were neither mutually exclusive nor intentionally collaborative.

Two aspects of my work thus far illustrate the practical application of these intellectual commitments and the scope of my research project. First is my analysis of the ways in which classical philologists and biblical philologists influenced one another in eighteenth-century Göttingen. To date, no study has examined men such as Johann David Michaelis (1717-1791), Christian Gottlob Heyne (1729-1812), and Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1752-1827) in terms of their common membership in a single intellectual and cultural milieu or on the basis of their shared practices as philologists. Instead, they are overwhelmingly studied independently and in isolation from one another due to the different kinds of texts and languages upon which they worked. My research demonstrates that they were part of a community of philologists within Göttingen who asked similar questions for similar reasons and came to their answers by similar means. Moreover, this community can be identified by the braded development of three features: an emerging appreciation of the historicity of canonical texts, the establishment of new modes of analysis, and the formation of new tools of judgment.

Second is my close examination of philology seminars. The plurality of this term is especially important to emphasize because the existing literature is overwhelmingly wed to the notion of a single ideal or prototypical seminar and its subsequent influence. My focus on seminars (pl.) enables me to develop a more detailed chart of the constellations of such seminars and their interactions. This also emphasizes the multivariate character of philology as well as the importance of local contexts, and offers a corrective to the Prussia- and Berlin-centric character of most discussions about the philology seminar.

I will be developing a third aspect of my project that is concerned with ‘grand visions of philology’ articulated in the period 1800-1830. These accounts of what philology could do and should be will be juxtaposed with an analysis of the day-to-day practices and scholarly publications of philologists. This is designed to explore the resonance (or dissonance) between what philology actually was and what it was thought to be, as well as to uncover what was at stake for and in philology in order to explore its extreme fractiousness in the Nineteenth-Century.

About the researcher

Kristine Palmieri is PhD researcher at the University of Chicago with the disseratation Philology as a Way of Knowing: Philology in the Reformed German Universities, 1750-1830. She is also a Predoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Her research interests are: History of Science; History of the Human Sciences and Humanities; History of Philology; Germany; Modern and Early Modern Europe; Cultural, Institutional, and Intellectual History; History of Knowledge; Transnational History; Britain and the British Empire.