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. Grants are not intended for the business-as-usual activities, such as conferences, but for more unexpected projects. The committee is attentive to interdisciplinary initiatives as well as to the intellectual "nooks and crannies" of the University that might not be well known to students and colleagues but are essential to the richness of the Princeton experience.
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;
  • 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 support released time for faculty research, but it can fund other research and teaching-related projects. Pairs of faculty members from different departments can apply for summer grants to create new interdisciplinary team-taught courses that examine large questions and major texts across time and could appropriately be cross-listed with the Program in Humanistic Studies. Priority is given to courses that can be repeated at Princeton if they are successful. The committee also welcomes projects that reach across divisions, from the humanities to the sciences and engineering.

There are two rounds of consideration for 2013-2014. Deadlines are November 15 and March 15.


The Humanities Council invites one-page proposals, with a budget, describing how the project breaks new ground and how it might make  a difference on the intellectual or curricular landscape. Proposals should be sent to Kathleen Crown in the Humanities Council. Faculty with questions are welcome to call or email, 8-4719,

This sample of past grants suggests the broad range of possibilities:

Summer collaborations involving pairs of faculty members in the sciences and humanities

Team-taught course on Imagined Languages

Near Eastern Studies
One-week seminars for graduate students on Islamic numismatics and Iranian philology

French and Italian

Student theater workshop in Paris

Edition of Cairo Genizah manuscripts

Firestone Library

Conversion of 1920s Pathé films to betacam

Materials and guest artist partnerships for the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk)

Project on Princeton and Slavery

Molecular Biology/Neuroscience 
Project on the Neuroscience of intellectual interests

Art and Archaeology 
Excavation project in Greece

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Telephone: (609) 258-4717
Fax: (609) 258-2783
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