The David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project

David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project Grants in the Council of the Humanities

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

Magic grants continue to be awarded only for projects to be carried out in the coming academic year (not in the current year). If you have an innovative project planned for 2015-16, please send your funding request through the conference and project funding portal, which offers grants of up to $5,000.  Occasionally smaller amounts of Magic funds become available in the current year (eg, surplus or returned funds) and may be awarded on ad hoc basis.

There will be one round of awards for projects to be carried out in academic year 2016-17, with an application deadline of February 1, 2016.

An information session will be offered to potential applicants during the Fall semester. The online application form will be available here January 2016.

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.

List of Magic Grants Awarded in 2014-15


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