Humanities Council Names 2024-25 Old Dominion Research Professors

May 3, 2024

The Humanities Council has named Paul Frymer (Politics), Daniela Mairhofer (Classics), Jan-Werner Müller (Politics), and Sara S. Poor (German) as 2024-25 Old Dominion Research Professors.

The professorship provides additional research time for Princeton faculty members and seeks to enhance the University humanities community more broadly.

Over the course of the academic year, Old Dominion Research Professors engage in the intellectual life of the Humanities Council, contribute to cross-disciplinary programs and events, and are invited to share their research through talks, workshops, and lunch conversations. The cohort of Old Dominion Research Professors will also serve as Faculty Fellows in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts.

Paul Frymer is a professor of politics. His research and teaching interests are broadly in American politics, political history, and public policy, engaging specifically in questions involving law, civil rights and race, labor and employment, political parties, and social movements. Between 2015-2020, he was the director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs. His most recent book, Building an American Empire: The Era of Territorial and Political Expansion (Princeton University Press, 2017), was the winner of two awards including the J. David Greenstone Award for the best book in politics and history from the American Political Science Association. Frymer’s Old Dominion Professorship will support research on historical policy development of agricultural laborers in the United States. 

Daniela Mairhofer is an associate professor of classics. Trained as a classical philologist, her research and teaching focus on the Latin language and literature of all periods, with a particular interest in late and medieval Latin. She is also interested in textual transmission and criticism, paleography and codicology, palimpsest studies, textual materiality, glossography, intellectual history, and the reception of the classics and ancient philosophy in the Latin West. She has published widely on these topics and has presented her research in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Her most recent book is on Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy. Mairhofer’s project as Old Dominion Professor is a book titled Totum Nihil: Political and Social Critique in the Thirteenth Century, which revolves around a 13th-century Latin poem that has been largely ignored by scholarship.

Jan-Werner Müller is the Roger Williams Straus Professor of Social Sciences and professor of politics. He is a co-founder of the European College of Liberal Arts (today: Bard Berlin), Germany’s first English-language liberal arts college. Müller’s recent books include What is Populism? (Penn Press, 2016), which has been translated into more than 20 languages, Furcht und Freiheit (Suhrkamp, 2019), which won the Bavarian Book Prize, and Democracy Rules (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021). At Princeton, Müller directs the Program in Political Philosophy, the Forum for the History of Political Thought, and the Academic Freedom Initiative. His public affairs commentary appears in the London Review of Books, The Guardian, and Foreign Policy. Müller’s project as Old Dominion Professor, Christian Democracy: A New Intellectual History, will trace the attempts to reconcile Catholicism and modern democracy. 

Sara S. Poor is an associate professor in the Department of German and the author of Mechthild of Magdeburg and Her Book: Gender and the Making of Textual Authority (Penn Press, 2004), a prize-winning study of the 13th-century mystic Mechthild von Magdeburg. Her teaching and research focus on gender, medieval and early modern romance and epic, mysticism, female agency, and the material history of the book. As an Old Dominion Research Professor, Poor will focus on a book project titled The Literary Agency of Medieval Women: Kunigund Niklasin (d. 1457) and the Library of St Catherine’s in Nuremberg, which will elucidate a more inclusive theory of female agency, an expanded notion of authorship, and a nuanced appreciation of the important roles of late medieval women as writers.

Old Dominion Research Professors are tenured professors in the humanities and humanistic social sciences appointed for a term of one year, one semester of which would otherwise have been devoted to a regular sabbatical leave. The professorship extends that leave to one full year.

Learn more about the Old Dominion Research Professorship on the Council’s website.

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