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 (extended) deadline to apply for a 2018–19 Professorship was January 22, 2018.
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, 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.”
New 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 2018-19 nominations is October 18, 2017 (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 2018-19 Short-Term Fellows nominations is October 18, 2017 (round one) and March 26, 2018 (round two). Online nomination forms.
The Stewart Fellows for 2017-18 are Jan Bloemendal (Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands), Sabine Huebner (Basel University), and Ilana Pardes (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem). Read more about the Stewart Fellows
We welcome proposals from writers and journalists who wish to teach seminars in journalism as Ferris Professors of Journalism and other kinds of non-fiction related to journalism as McGraw Professors of Writing. More information.
Yasmine El Rashidi will teach “The Journalist as Historian.” She is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, an editor of the Middle East culture journal Bidoun, and author of The Battle for Egypt. Her essays have been anthologized in Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and The New York Review Abroad: Fifty Years of International Reportage. Her next book on Egypt, Chronicle of a Last Summer, is forthcoming from Crown (2016). She is currently a 2015/16 Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library.
Kathleen McCleery will teach “Covering the Presidential Campaign.” She is a special correspondent and freelance producer for the PBS NewsHour reporting a wide range of stories from politics to the environment, education, science, health care, and the arts. She’s spent her 40-year career as a broadcast journalist. On staff for 18 years at the NewsHour, she served as deputy executive producer overseeing editorial, technical, and online operations. At Princeton, she was WPRB’s first female news director. She’s covered Presidential elections since 1980, and her seminar will center on media coverage of the 2016 race.
Beena Sarwar will teach a course on causes, politics, and media. She is a journalist and documentary filmmaker with a focus on human rights, gender, media, and peace issues; currently Editor, Aman ki Asha (Hope for Peace) with the Jang Group, Pakistan and The Times of India. Positions held include founding editor The News on Sunday, producer Geo TV, and op-ed editor The News. Fellowships include Nieman (Harvard University); Carr Center for Human Rights Policy (Harvard Kennedy School). She taught journalism at Harvard Summer School and as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Brown University.
Robert Smith will teach a course on telling stories for the radio. He is a correspondent and host for NPR’s Planet Money, a podcast that explains the mysteries of the global economy. His stories make complicated topics seem fun, engaging and understandable. You’ve heard his work on public radio programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered and This American Life. Before his current gig, Robert was NPR‘s correspondent in New York City, covering the mayhem and madness of the greatest city in the world.
Tara Parker-Pope is the founder and editor of the popular New York Times Well section, which offers science-based health advice. She won an Emmy for the video series Life, Interrupted. Prior to joining the Times in 2007, she spent 14 years at the Wall Street Journal. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, More, Good Housekeeping, and other publications. She is the author of three books, and resides in Bucks County, PA.
Nicholas Schmidle is a staff writer at The New Yorker, working on complex, investigative projects. He is also the author of To Live or to Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan. He received the Kurt Schork Award for his reporting in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and is a National Magazine Award finalist, and two-time Livingston Award finalist. He will teach a course about investigative narrative journalism.
Elaine Sciolino is a contributing writer and former Paris bureau chief for The New York Times. Her 2015 book, The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs, was a New York Times best seller. Sciolino, a chevalier of the Legion of Honor, has held various posts at both Newsweek Magazine and later The New York Times. Her other books include La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life and Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran.
Edward Wong is Beijing bureau chief for The New York Times. He has reported for the business, metro and sports desks at the Times and was a Baghdad correspondent. His journalism awards include the Livingston Award for International Reporting for his Iraq coverage. He will teach international reporting, with a special focus on China and the Middle East.
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.