The Humanities Council supports the advancement of the humanities and related fields by sponsoring professorships and fellowships.
This page provides an overview of the intellectual pursuits of our distinguished community of scholars. For a complete list of people in current roles, please see our People Directory.
Our faculty Directors and Chairs are key to the Council’s mission and work. Membership in the Humanities Council is open to chairs and directors of all humanities departments, programs and committees.
The Council is home to the Carpenter Professorship in the Humanities, a joint appointment in the Council and a humanities department. The inaugural Carpenter Professor, Alexander Nehamas, is currently Professor in the Humanities Council, Philosophy, and Comparative Literature. His books include Nietzsche: Life as Literature, The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault, Virtues of Authenticity: Essays on Plato and Socrates, and Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art.
At Princeton, he has chaired the Council of the Humanities and directed the Program in Hellenic Studies, and he was the Founding Director of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts.
This program is designed to provide additional research time for faculty members and to enhance the humanities community more broadly by providing a core group of senior faculty with time and resources to engage colleagues and students from across the university in sustained discussions of their work. Old Dominion professors are faculty members in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who are full professors and who have been at the University for a minimum of five years.
Old Dominion Professors are 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. Old Dominion Professors are expected to be in residence for the year and to engage in the intellectual life of the Council and the university.
To foster a community of scholars, Old Dominion Professors are provided with offices in a congenial setting outside their home departments. They participate in Humanities Council activities and serve as Faculty Fellows in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts.
Eligibility and Application
Faculty members in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who are full professors and who have been at the University for a minimum of five years are invited to apply by submitting a curriculum vitae and project proposal (3-4 pages, along with a copy of the leave request submitted to their department and the Dean of the Faculty. Projects may involve on-going scholarship or new, exploratory work. Previous Old Dominion Professors are not eligible for reappointment.
The deadline to apply for a 2019–20 Professorship is January 7, 2019.
Selection and Criteria
The Executive Committee of the Humanities Council evaluates proposals and makes recommendations to the Chair of the Council and the Dean of the Faculty. In making its recommendations, the Committee is mindful not only of the intrinsic merits of the projects but also of the potential convergence among various proposals, the opportunities for intellectual exchange among Old Dominion Professors, and the candidate’s potential for sustaining cross-disciplinary discussion on campus during the professorship year.
Old Dominion Professors
- Michael Flower, David Magie ’97 Class of 1897 Professor of Classics, Project: The Art of Historical Fiction in Ancient Greece
- Simon Gikandi, Robert Schirmer Professor of English, Project: The Atlantic Crypt: Slavery and the Cultures of Modernity
- Kim Lane Scheppele, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School, Project: Counter-Constitutions and the End of History
- Sean Wilentz, George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History; Professor of History, Project: The Triumph of American Antislavery
- Maria DiBattista, Charles Barnwell Straut Class of 1923 Professor of English, Project: Modernist Portraiture: Literature, Painting, Photography, Film
- Tony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History, Project: Post Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Early Modern Europe
- Philip Nord, Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Project: Memories of Deportation: France, 1945-1985
- Thomas Hare, William Sauter LaPorte ’28 Professor in Regional Studies, Professor of Comparative Literature, Project: Portraiture/Figurality in Ancient Egypt
- Emmanuel Kreike, Professor of History, Project: The War Ate the Rains: Total War, Displacement, and Memory in Southern Africa, 1960s-1990s
- Deborah Nord, Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature and Professor of English, Project: What Can Be Seen: Ekphrasis, Illustration, and Iconography in Victorian Narrative
- Michael Wachtel, Chair, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Previous Old Dominion Professors
Kofi Agawu, Music
April Alliston, Comparative Literature
David Bell, History
David Bellos, French and Italian, Comparative Literature
João Biehl, Anthropology
Isabelle Clark-Decès, Anthropology
John Cooper, Philosophy
Andrew Feldherr, Classics
Diana Fuss, English
Daniel Garber, Philosophy
William Gleason, English
Molly Greene, History, Hellenic Studies
Gilbert Harman, Philosophy
Bernard Haykel, Near Eastern Studies
Wendy Heller, Music
Martha Himmelfarb, Religion
Alison Isenberg, History
Michael Jennings, German
Claudia Johnson, English
Robert Kaster, Classics
Paul Lansky, Music
AnneMarie Luijendijk, Religion
Susan Naquin, History, East Asian Studies
Alexander Nehamas, Philosophy, Comparative Literature
Elaine Pagels, Religion
Albert Raboteau, Religion
Eileen Reeves, Comparative Literature
Daniel T. Rodgers, History
Esther Schor, English
Nigel Smith, English
Susan Stewart, English
Behrman Professors are faculty of tenured rank who are appointed for a three-year term to teach in the Humanistic Studies Program and to raise the overall profile of the Humanities at Princeton. Each year, we appoint one dedicated Humanities teacher from within our community to take a leading role in the Humanities Sequence (HUM 216-219) and in the undergraduate certificate in Humanistic Studies.
This is a three-year appointment (for consecutive years), and we aim to have three “Behrman Professors” at any given time. The new Professors are intended to enhance the appeal and the continuity of the Humanities Sequence (HUM 216-219) and raise the profile of the Humanistic Studies Program and of the Humanities at Princeton.
The new Professor will teach in either Fall or Spring in HUM 216-219, as part of a six-member faculty team, receiving the usual Council summer salary of $7500 for preparing a team-taught HUM course for the first time.
He or she will coordinate for HUM 216-219, teaching in both Fall and Spring semesters. Because of the higher commitment in this year, the Professor will receive either 1/9th summer salary or a course release in the third year.
He or she will teach another HUM course, ideally the capstone seminar for the Certificate in Humanistic Studies, with a $7500 course-development grant for a new team-taught course. The capstone seminar requires team teaching with another regular faculty member at Princeton from a different discipline.
In recognition of this commitment of three continuous years to the Humanistic Studies Program, the Humanities Council will provide a guaranteed semester’s leave at the end of the three years; this leave can be banked to be used in conjunction with another semester leave when it becomes available from the home department.
How to Apply
Applications should comprise:
- a statement of interest
- a curriculum vitae
- teaching evaluations
- a list of courses taught
- a brief letter from the chair of the home department confirming that the department can release the faculty member on the above terms.
The deadline to apply for an appointment beginning in AY 2020-21 will be in Spring 2019.
The Council will also be accepting applications to begin in AY 2021-22, with the same deadline.
Current Behrman Professors
The inaugural Behrman Professor is Esther Schor (English), whose term began in 2016 and will conclude this year. She is Acting Chair of the Humanities Council and taught the capstone course in the Humanistic Studies program in Spring 2018, entitled “Witness: History, Memory, and Culture.”
Future Behrman Professors
Denis Feeney (Classics) will begin his three-year term in 2019-20, teaching courses for the Program in Humanistic Studies including the Humanities Sequence and the capstone seminar.
The Council supports Professors in the Linguistics Program, in addition to several lecturers and postdoctoral fellows in Humanistic Studies, Digital Humanities, Linguistics, Religion, Sanskrit, and American Studies.
Each year distinguished writers, artists and scholars spend a semester visiting at Princeton, teaching one course. Nominations are invited from chairs of humanities departments and may be made jointly with interdisciplinary programs and committees under the Council’s umbrella.
Nominations for visiting Long-Term Fellows are invited from chairs of humanities departments and may be made jointly with Council programs and committees. The deadline for 2019-20 nominations is October 9, 2018 (online nomination forms.) Departments and programs seeking information about nomination procedures should contact Kathleen Crown, executive director.
During intensive three-to-five-day periods, these Fellows lecture and participate in classes, colloquia and informal discussions. The Program was created with a gift from Frank E. Taplin, Jr.’37 in honor of Whitney J. Oates, the distinguished classicist and founder of the Humanities Council. The Short-Term Fellows Program also hosts Virginia and Richard Stewart Fellows in Religion and Edward T. Cone ’39*42 Fellows, named in memory of the eminent composer, musicologist, professor and benefactor of the arts and humanities.
Nominations are invited from chairs of humanities departments and may be made jointly with programs and committees. The deadline for 2019-20 Short-Term Fellows nominations is October 9, 2018 (round one) and April 1, 2019 (round two). Online nomination forms.
The Stewart Fellow for 2018-19 is Andrew Nicholson (Stony Brooks University). Read more about the Stewart Fellow.
We welcome proposals from journalists and writers who wish to teach seminars in journalism as visiting Ferris Professors of Journalism, or seminars in other kinds of nonfiction related to journalism as visiting McGraw Professors of Writing. Visiting professors will join our Ferris Professors of Journalism in Residence: Joe Stephens, who spent two decades as an investigative projects reporter for The Washington Post, and John McPhee, who has been a staff writer at The New Yorker for more than 50 years. More information.
Deborah Amos covers the Middle East and refugees in the U.S. as a correspondent for NPR News. Her course, “International News: Migration Reporting,” will focus on immigration and refugee policy and practice and include a fall-break trip to Canada.
Michael Calderone is a senior media reporter at Politico. He will teach about the intersection of media and politics with a focus on the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections in “The Media in America: Determined Press, Skeptical Public, and the Next Presidential Race.”
Will Englund is a foreign assignment editor at The Washington Post, where he directs coverage of Russia, Eastern Europe, and East Asia. In “The McGraw Seminar in Writing: Covering Hostile Governments,” he will teach how reporters overcome efforts to curb independent journalism.
Kira Kay is the creator and director of the Bureau for International Reporting and a special correspondent for PBS NewsHour. Students in her course on “Reporting After War” will examine post-conflict nation building in Bosnia and go on a fall-break trip for in-field reporting.
Kathleen McCleery is a special correspondent and freelance producer for PBS NewsHour. Her course on “Politics and the Media: Covering the 2018 Elections” will focus on media coverage of a hotly contested Congressional race and include a fall-break trip to a key state.
Nick Chiles has worked as a journalist and author for more than 30 years. He will teach a course on “The Media and Social Issues” that addresses examining the other and focusing on diversity in a time when the U.S. population is undergoing demographic shifts.
Pico Iyer has worked as a journalist for more than 200 newspapers and magazines, authored 12 books, and delivered three TED Talks. In “The Literature of Fact,” he will aspire to blend memoir, reportage, personal history, and the devices of fiction in exploring the foreign.
Mike McIntire is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has been at The New York Times since 2003. Students in his “Investigative Journalism” course will master basic investigative tools and techniques in everyday reporting and major enterprise pieces.
Stacey Vanek Smith is a correspondent for NPR’s Planet Money and a former student in the Ferris Seminars. She will teach an “Audio Journalism” course on reporting and writing for radio, producing a podcast, and how to pitch a story.
Deborah Sontag is a writer and teacher whose celebrated work in journalism spans 35 years, including 25 years at The New York Times. In “The McGraw Seminar in Writing,” she will teach students how to write about immigrants and refugees.
The Council supports several lecturers and postdoctoral fellows in Humanistic Studies, Digital Humanities, Linguistics, Religion, Sanskrit, and American Studies. The Council also supports fellows in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, which promotes innovative interdisciplinary approaches to scholarship and teaching. Each year, a new cohort of recent recipients of the Ph.D. in the humanities and humanistically-oriented social sciences are appointed for three-year terms of teaching and research. Meeting regularly for informal and formal discussion, seminars, lectures, and reading groups, the fellows pursue new knowledge within and across disciplines. The Society enjoys the support of the Humanities Council, with whom it shares the Joseph Henry House, a historic building at the center of campus named after its designer, the eminent scientist and Princeton professor, Joseph Henry (1797-1878).
The Council supports several lecturers in Humanistic Studies, Digital Humanities, Linguistics, Religion, South Asian Studies/Sanskrit, and American Studies.