The Humanities Council’s ethos of interdisciplinary exploration and teaching, diverse and international worldviews and innovation is embodied in the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project Grants which are awarded annually to members of faculty. Awardees examine ideas that break new ground intellectually and pedagogically and have the potential to change how the humanities are conceived and taught. Magic grants are awarded only for first-time projects to be carried out in the coming academic year.
The selection 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. At the heart of each proposal is the aim to re-conceive the humanities: whether by encouraging new and emerging cross-disciplinary endeavors; building new bridges from the humanities to the creative arts, sciences, and social sciences; or enabling new initiatives in global and public humanities.
Projects include course-related trips abroad (Venice, New Orleans, Peru, Serbia), new team-taught courses in medical humanities, science-humanities collaborations, and new initiatives in film studies and journalism.
One new course is titled ‘Who Owns This Sentence? Copyright Culture from the Romantic Era to the Age of the Internet’ and is a collaboration between David Bellos (comparative literature) and Alexandre Montagu, Class of 1987 property lawyer. Partners in East Asian studies, history, mechanical aerospace engineering and the Princeton Institute for Science and Technology join forces to explore the chronology of copper smelting in Japan. A team-taught course looks at the traditions and challenges of history writing, and a multi-year course led by Zahid Chaudhary (English) focuses on the cinema’s global reach titled ‘Beyond Bollywood.’
David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project Grants in the Humanities Council is made possible thanks to the generosity of Lynn Shostack, in memory of her husband, David A. Gardner ’69.