Louis G. Forgione University Professor, Classics

864.294.3173
Furman Hall 134D
christopher.blackwell@furman.edu

  • Current disciplinary research interests

      Digital library infrastructure; collaborative scholarly editing of image-based editions; Athenian Democracy; historical botany; Alexander the Great; Greek epic poetry and ancient scholarship.

  • Interest in connecting sustainability to research

      I am very interested in the continuum of scientific thought from Aristotle and Theophrastus, through the 18th century re-thinking of taxonomy (which coincided with the earliest European exploration of the Carolinas), to present curatorial and data-management problems in the botanical world. I am particularly interested in how scientific thought was derailed from its nascent basis in systematics (Aristotle and Theophrastus) in favor of the utilitarian approaches of Pliny (agriculture and pleasure-gardens) and Diosourides (military medicine). I have suspicion that the history of information-technology, scientific funding, and intellectual property issues plays a large role in this, from the 4th century BCE until the present, and am interested in exploring this question: are we in an environmental pickle now because too much science was for too long in the hands of landscapers, librarians, and legionnaires?

  • Sustainability courses taught
      • Planning to propose FYS course in ancient science—focusing on Theophrastus and Aristotle—and on historical botanical specimens in the Sloane Herbarium and the modern-Latin texts that accompany them.
      • I team-teach a FYW with Shusuke Yagi, in which we dedicate several class sessions to environmental issues as present in both Greek and Japanese history and mythology.
      • I would like to introduce a theme of "People and the natural world" to my Greek civilization courses, focusing on the intersection of food-production, land-use, economics, and politics, particularly as related to the history of democracy in Athens.

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