The David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project

This Project provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to Princeton faculty members, thanks to the generosity of Lynn Shostack, in memory of her husband, David A. Gardner '69. The goal is to support ideas that break new ground intellectually and pedagogically and have the potential to change how the humanities are conceived and taught. The committee is attentive to interdisciplinary initiatives as well as to intellectual “nooks and crannies” that might not be well known to students and colleagues but are essential to the richness of the Princeton experience. In this context, the word magic is used metaphorically to signal the possibility of making new things happen.

The Council of the Humanities invites one-page proposals describing how the project breaks new ground and how it might make a difference on the intellectual or curricular landscape. Please include a detailed budget for the full project, showing funds contributed by or solicited from other sources. Faculty with questions are welcome to call or email Kathleen Crown, Executive Director of the Council at 8-4719 or

There are two rounds of awards for the summer and academic year 2015-2016. Deadlines are October 15 and March 2.

Grants are intended to reflect one or more facets of the Project’s mission:

  • to encourage unusual, even surprising, intellectual endeavors that depart from the status quo and have the potential to reshape a body of knowledge;
  • to foster interdisciplinary collaborations and team-teaching across fields;
  • to enlarge the curriculum in ways that encourage both faculty and students to adopt new modes of thought that transcend traditional academic boundaries; and
  • to expose students to educational riches that might not otherwise be visible or available to them because of class size restrictions, budgetary limits, or other obstacles.

The Project does not provide salaries for research, but pairs of faculty members may apply for summer stipends of $7500 to develop team-taught courses that reach beyond a single department. These courses should examine large questions and major texts, building bridges either within the arts and humanities, or across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

Click here to apply for a David A. Gardner grant for summer 2015 or AY 2015-16.


A selection of past grants

Power-in-a-box: energy collaboration in Africa (Anthropology and Engineering)

Archive of Architecture thesis projects, 1932-1981 Music Residency, Sybilline Prophecies

Team-taught course on Cultural Forms (German and Art and Archaeology)

Japanese puppetry workshop in East Asian Studies

Class visits to New York studios for “The Artist at Work”

Student workshop at Paris Conservatory

Team-taught course on Imagined Languages (History and Classics)

Faculty-student research project on Princeton and slavery

Humanities/Science Collaborative projects by faculty members in the sciences and humanities

Kongo Across the Waters, art exhibit and related course development

Chemistry lab experiments for History of Alchemy course

Fall- and spring-break trips for courses: Venice and the Mediterranean World (Crete); Shakespeare (London); Shanghai’s Urban Cultures

Faculty seminar on Fatwa hosted by Anthropology

Plotinus workshop in Philosophy

Creation of an opera for solo guitar

Near Eastern Studies one-week graduate workshops

Residency of set designer/musical consultant for Eugene Onegin

Team-taught course on Free Will and Consciousness (Philosophy and Molecular Biology)

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