At Stanford Since
I have taught the early history of science and medicine for many years on the premise that one of the most important ways to understand how science, medicine and technology have become so central to contemporary society comes from examining the process by which scientific knowledge emerged. I also take enormous pleasure in examining a kind of scientific knowledge that did not have an autonomous existence from other kinds of creative endeavors, but emerged in the context of humanistic approaches to the world (in defiance of C.P. Snow's claim that the modern world is one of "two cultures" that share very little in common). More generally, I am profoundly attracted to individuals in the past who aspired to know everything. It still seems like a worthy goal.
My other principal interest lies in understanding the world of the Renaissance, with a particular focus on Italy. I continue to be fascinated by a society that made politics, economics and culture so important to its self-definition, and that obviously succeeded in all these endeavors for some time, as the legacy of such figures as Machiavelli and Leonardo suggests. Renaissance Italy, in short, is a historical laboratory for understanding the possibilities and the problems of an innovative society. As such, it provides an interesting point of comparison to Gilded Age America, where magnates such as J.P. Morgan often described themselves as the "new Medici," and to other historical moments when politics, art and society combined fruitfully.
Finally, I have a certain interest in the relations between gender, culture and knowledge. Virginia Woolf rightfully observed at the beginning of the twentieth century that one could go to a library and find a great deal about women but very little that celebrated or supported their accomplishments. This is no longer true a century later, in large part thanks to the efforts of many scholars, male and female, who have made the work of historical women available to modern readers and who have begun to look at relations between the sexes in more sophisticated ways. Our own debates and disagreements on such issues make this subject all the more important to understand.
- The Rise and Fall of Europe (IHUM)
- Power, Art and Knowledge in Renaissance Italy
- Heretics, Prostitutes and Merchants: The Venetian Empire
- The Emergence of Medicine: The Middle Ages and the Renaissance
- Science, Art and Technology: The Worlds of Leonardo
- When Worlds Collide: The Trial of Galileo
- New Worlds, Imaginary Worlds
- The Scientific Revolution
- The Mind Has No Sex
- Early Modern Europe Research Seminar
- In the Shadow of Newton: Laura Bassi and Her World (under contract with Knopf/Vintage: expected completion in 2009)
- A Fragmentary Past: The Making of Museums in Late Renaissance Italy (Italian edition under contract with Carocci Editore; English and eventually Japanese editions will also be forthcoming. Manuscript to be submitted in fall 2008)
- (with Wendy Wassyng Roworth, and Catherine M. Sama, eds.,)Italy's Eighteenth Century: Gender and Culture in the Age of the Grand Tour (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008)
- (with Rebecca Messbarger, eds. and trans.) Maria Gaetana Agnesi et. al., The Contest for Knowledge: Debates about Women's Education in Eighteenth-Century Italy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005)
- (ed.) Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything (New York: Routledge, 2003). Listen to former BBC radio presenter Guy Leigh interviewing Professor Paula Findlen about her new book Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything.
- (with Michelle Fontaine and Duane Osheim, eds.), Beyond Florence: The Contours of Medieval and Early Modern Italy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003)
- (ed.) The Italian Renaissance: Essential Readings (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002)
- (with Pamela Smith, ed.), Merchants and Marvels: Commerce,Science and Art in Early Modern Europe (New York: Routledge, 2001)
- Possessing Nature: Museums, Collecting, and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994)
Current Research Projects
- Galileo's Laughter: Knowledge and Play in the Renaissance (under advance contract with the University of California Press)
- English translation of Renata Ago, The Taste for Things: A History of Objects in Seventeenth Century Rome (foreward by Paula Findlen, translation by Brad Bouley and Corey Tazzara)
- Early Modern Things (a collaborative workshop on the role of ordinary and extraordinary, domestic and exotic, secular and sacred objects in the early modern world in 2009-10 that will result in an edited volume by Paula Findlen and Renata Ago)
- Paula Findlen, Ian Rolfe et.al. The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo: A Catalogue Raisonné. Series B ~ Natural History, Part V. Fauna, Minerals and Natural Curiosities. Volume Editor: Martin Clayton (to be published by The Royal Collection in association with Harvey Miller Publishers)
- The Shadows of Galileo: Science and Religion after the Trial (explores the evolving relationship between science and religion between 1633 and 1758 as well as focusing on the networks of Catholic scholars who came of age in the decades after Galileo's trial)
- After Leonardo: The Artist as Scientist since the Renaissance (explores the role of artists in the evolution of scientific thought and practice in early modern Italy)
- "The Museum: Its Classical Etymology and Renaissance Genealogy," Journal of the History of Collections 1 (1989): 59-78. [republished in Bettina Messias Carbonell, ed., Museum Studies: An Anthology of Contexts (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), pp. 23-50; and Donald Preziosi and Claire Farago, eds., Grasping the World: The Idea of the Museum (London: Ashgate Publishing, 2004)].
- "Historical Thought in the Renaissance," in Companion to Historical Thought, ed. Lloyd Kramer and Sarah Maza (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002).
- "Ideas in the Mind: Gender and Knowledge in the Seventeenth Century," Hypatia(2002).
- "Science, History, and Erudition: Athanasius Kircher's Museum at the Collegio Romano," in Daniel Stolzenberg, ed., The Great Art of Knowing: The Athanasius Kircher Collection at Stanford University (Rome: Casalini Editore, 2001).
- "Building the House of Knowledge: The Structures of Thought in Late Renaissance Europe," in Tore Frangsmyr, ed., The Structure of Knowledge: Classifications of Science and Learning since the Renaissance (Berkeley, 2001).
- "The Modern Muses: Collecting and the Cult of Remembrance in Renaissance Italy," in Museums and Memory, ed. Susan Crane (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000).
- "The Janus Faces of Science in the Seventeenth Century: Athanasius Kircher and Isaac Newton," in Rethinking the Scientific Revolution, ed. Margeret Osler (Cambridge, U. K.: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
- "Mr. Murray's Cabinet of Wonder," preface to reprint of David Murray, Museums, Their History and Their Use (Staten Island, NY: Pober Publishing, 2000).
- (with Tara Nummedal) "Scientific Publishing in the Seventeenth Century," in Scientific Books, Libraries and Readers (London: Scolar Press, 1999).
- "The Formation of a Scientific Community: Natural History in Sixteenth-Century Italy," in Natural Particulars: Renaissance Natural Philosophy and the Disciplines, ed. Anthony Grafton and Nancy Siraisi (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999).
- "A Forgotten Newtonian: Women and Science in the Italian Provinces," in The Sciences in Enlightenment Europe, ed. William Clark, Jan Golinski and Simon Schaffer (University of Chicago Press, 1999).
- "Masculine Prerogatives: Gender, Space and Knowledge in the Early Modern Museum," in The Architecture of Science, ed. by Peter Galison and Emily Thompson. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999.
- "Between Carnival and Lent: The Scientific Revolution at the Margins of Culture," Configurations 5 (1998).
- "Possessing the Past: The Material World of the Italian Renaissance," American Historical Review 103 (1998): 83-114.
- "Translating the New Science: Women and the Circulation of Knowledge in Enlightenment Italy," Configurations 2 (1995): 167-206.
- "Science as a Career in Enlightenment Italy: The Strategies of Laura Bassi" Isis 84 (1993): 441-469.
- "Humanism, Politics and Pornography in Renaissance Italy," in Lynn Hunt, ed., The Invention of Pornography (New York: Zone Books, 1993), pp.49-108.
- "Jokes of Nature and Jokes of Knowledge: The Playfulness of Scientific Discourse in Early Modern Europe," Renaissance Quarterly 43 (1990): 292-331.
- "The Museum: Its Classical Etymology and Renaissance Genealogy," Journal of the History of Collections 1 (1989): 59-78.
- The Books on the (Medieval and Renaissance) Shelf, Stanford CMEMS Blog, October 2012
- Jobs at the End of the (Academic) Road, Stanford CMEMS Blog, November 2011
- Letters of RecommendatioN; The Art and the Science, AHA Perspectives, October 2007
- Findlen interview with the Bat of Minerva, March 25, 2010
- Entitled Opinions radio interview on Athanasius Kircher
Episode from April 13, 2010
- Athanasius Kircher, Dude of Wonders
Chronicle of Higher Education, May 28, 2002
Prof. Findlen in the News
- Stanford computers map 18th century intellectual networks
USA Today, December 21, 2009
- Letters of recommendation: The art and the science
Perspectives (American Historical Association), October, 2007
- Meet Mr. Know-It-All (Athanasius Kircher)
Stanford Magazine, September/October, 2001
- STS co-chair Paula Findlen researching history of world’s first female professor
Stanford Report, August 22, 2001
- Homo sapiens in museums?; Look under ‘insignificant interlopers’
New York Times, May 12, 2001
- Audio interview with former BBC radio presenter Guy Leigh about Athanasius Kircher
- Faculty Research Fellow, Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research 2008-09
- Gladys Krieble Delmas, Foundation Grant 2008-09
- Presidential Fund for Innovation in the Humanities 2008-11 (Co-PI, 'Mapping the Republic of Letters')
- Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize for best article in a three-year period (History of Science Society) 2004
- Invited Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences 2007-08
- American Council of Learned Societies Senior Fellowship 2003-04
- American Philosophical Society Sabbatical Fellowship 2003-04
- Visiting Professor, Pontificia Universidade Catolica de São Paulo, Brazil, summer 2003
- Visiting Professor, Folger Shakespeare Library, spring 2003
- Professeur Associe, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 2001-02
- Visiting Professor, University of Groningen, 2000
- Visiting Professor, Harvard University, History of Science Dept, 1994
- Guggenheim Fellow, 1998-99
- Co-Recipient, Getty Foundation Grant, 1998-99
- Stanford Humanities Center Fellowship, 1998-99
- Invited Senior Scholar, Getty Center, 1995-96
- Pfizer Prize for best book in History of Science, 1996
- Howard Marraro Prize for best book in Italian History, American Catholic Historical Association, 1995
- Derek Price award for best article, History of Science Society, 1993
- American Council for Learned Societies Fellowship, 1992-93
- American Philosophical Society Grant 1992-93
- Nelson Prize for best article, Renaissance Society of America, 1990
- NEH Younger Scholars Research Grant 1984
- Chair, Department of History, 2008-
- Medieval and Early Modern Workshop, 2008-09
- Review Committee, Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, 2007
- Co-Director, Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 2006-
- Ancients and Moderns Workshop, 2005-07
- Associate Director, Suppes Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Science and Technology, 2004-08
- Mediterranean History Workshop, 2002-2003
- Steering Committee, Stanford Fellows in the Humanities Program, 2001-03, 2004-05
- Advisory Board, Stanford Early Science Lab, 2001-2003
- Appointments and Promotions Committee, H&S, 2001-2003
- The History of the Book Workshop, 2000-2001
- Overseas Studies Visiting Faculty (Florence Program), 2000
- History Honors College, 2000
- Science, Technology and Society Program, Co-Director, 1999-2003
- Director of Graduate Studies, History Department, 1999-2002
- Dean of Admission Search Committee, 1999-2000
- Director of Overseas Studies Search Committee, 1999-2000
- Presidential Chairs in the Humanities Advisory Committee, 1997-1998
- Co-Coordinator, Stanford Humanities Center Workshops
- Iberian Studies, 1997-1998
- Library Committee, 1997-2000
- Program in the History and Philosophy of Science, 1996-present
- Co-Editor, Configurations
- Advisory Board, Eighteenth Century Studies, 2000-present
- Editorial Board, Journal of the History of Collections
- Editorial Board, Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies
- Editorial Board, Isis, 1996-99
- Journal of the History of Biology Bookshelf Board, 1990-98
- American Historical Association (Program Committee 1998, Nominating Committee, 2003-06)
- Society for Italian Historical Studies
- Renaissance Society of America (Council, 1991-93, 2003-05)
- Sixteenth Century Studies Conference (Progam Committee 1996-98)
- History of Science Society (Pfizer Prize Committee 1996-99, Nominating Committee 1998-99, Council 1998-2000)