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
The deadline to apply for a 2017–18 Professorship was Application and contact information is available here..
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 potential for sustained cross-disciplinary discussion.
2016-17 Old Dominion Professors
William Sauter LaPorte ’28 Professor in Regional Studies, Professor of Comparative Literature
Tom Hare earned his BA from Princeton in East Asian Studies, his PhD from the University of Michigan, and before coming to Princeton, taught at Stanford University. A specialist in Japanese literature through the eighteenth century as well as ancient Egyptian representational systems, he is the author of ReMembering Osiris: Number, Gender and the Word in Ancient Egyptian Representational Systems (1999). His most recent book, Zeami, Performance Notes (2008) won the Hôsei University Noh Drama Prize in Memory of actor Kanze Hisao.
Project: Portraiture/Figurality in Ancient Egypt
Professor of History
Emmanuel Kreike, holds a Ph.D. in African history from Yale University (1996) and a Dr. of Science (PhD) in Tropical Forestry from the School of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University (2006), the Netherlands. His research and teaching interests focus on the intersection of war/violence, population displacement, environment, and society. His publications include Re-Creating Eden: Land Use, Environment, and Society in Southern Angola and Northern Namibia (Heinemann, 2004), Deforestation and Reforestation in Namibia: The Global Consequences of Local Contradictions (Brill and Markus Wiener, 2010), and Environmental Infrastructure in African History: Examining the Myth of Natural Resources Management in Namibia (Cambridge, 2013). With William Chester Jordan he edited Corrupt Histories (University of Rochester Press, 2004).
Project: The War Ate the Rains: Total War, Displacement, and Memory in Southern Africa, 1960s-1990s
Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature. Professor of English
Deborah Nord works on nineteenth-century British literature and culture, with emphasis on the novel, painting, autobiography, writing about the city, gender, and social criticism. Her books have included studies of the Fabian socialist Beatrice Webb, urban investigation, and the representation of Gypsies in British writing and myth. She has just completed a book with her colleague Maria DiBattista on women writers and public life and is now working on the relationship between fiction and the visual arts in the Victorian period.
Project: What Can Be Seen: Ekphrasis, Illustration, and Iconography in Victorian Narrative
Chair, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Michael Wachtel’s research focuses on Russian poetry and poetics from the eighteenth century to the present. He is especially interested in questions of literary interpretation, both how a poem communicates as an individual work of art and how it fits into a larger tradition (whether Russian or European). These concerns are reflected in Wachtel’s books The Development of Russian Verse (Cambridge, 1998) and The Cambridge Introduction to Russian Poetry (Cambridge, 2004). Two poets play an especially prominent role in Wachtel’s scholarship: Aleksandr Pushkin (1799–1837) and Viacheslav Ivanov (1866–1949). The former, widely acknowledged as Russia’s greatest writer, helped to create the modern literary language. Wachtel’s Commentary to Pushkin’s Lyric Poetry 1826–1836 (U. of Wisconsin Press, 2011) provides the biographical, literary, historical, and cultural background essential to understanding Pushkin’s achievement. Viacheslav Ivanov was one of the most significant figures in pre-revolutionary Russian culture, but his emigration to Italy in 1924 made him a persona non grata in the Soviet Union. Wachtel’s numerous books and articles have been part of a post-Soviet Ivanov renaissance. These include a monograph that traces Ivanov’s indebtedness to German writers (Russian Symbolism and Literary Tradition: Goethe, Novalis, and the Poetics of Vyacheslav Ivanov, U. of Wisconsin Press, 1994) as well as two books of correspondence gathered in archives in Russia, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Israel, and the USA.
Roster of Previous Old Dominion Professors
Kofi Agawu, Music
April Alliston, Comparative Literature
David Bell, History
David Bellos, French and Italian, Comparative Literature
John Cooper, Philosophy
Isabelle Clark-Decès, Anthropology
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
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 Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities.
This is a three-year appointment, and we aim to have three such “Behrman Professors” at any one 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 HUM Council new course summer salary of $7500.
He or she will coordinate for HUM 216-219, teaching in both Fall and Spring semesters, or leading two precepts in one of those semesters instead (if preferred). 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, with a course-development grant for team-taught courses.
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 2017-18 or AY 2018-19 was October 7, 2016.
Current Behrman Professors
Our inaugural Behrman Professor is Esther “Starry” Schor (English), whose term began in 2016. She is leading the Humanities Sequence faculty team this year.
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. The deadline for nominating 2017-18 Long-Term Visiting Fellows was October 7, 2016.
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 2017-18 nominations was October 7, 2016 (online nomination forms.) Departments and programs seeking information about nomination procedures should contact Kathleen Crown, executive director.
2016–17 Long-Term Visiting Fellows
Isobel Armstrong is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of English Studies, and Emeritus Professor of English, Geoffrey Tillotson Chair, and Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London. Professor Armstrong’s fields of expertise include English literature, history and culture of the long nineteenth century, especially Victorian poetry and women’s history. Her book Victorian Glassworlds: Glass Culture and the Imagination 1830-80 received the James Russell Lowell Prize in 2009. Her newest book, Novel Politics: Democratic Imaginations in Nineteenth-Century Fiction, will be published in 2016 by Oxford University Press. Her current interest is how poems achieve affect through form and perlocutionary language. She graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Leicester in 1959, and in 1963 she completed her Ph.D.
Fall 2016 Course (ENG 553): Special Studies in the Nineteenth Century – Poetry: From Phantasmagoria to Photography.
Friedrich Teja Bach is University Professor of the History of Art, Emeritus, at the University of Vienna. Professor Bach studied art history, history, political science, German literature, and philosophy in Tübingen, New Haven, and Paris. His research has focused on the sculpture of Romanian-born Parisian modernist Constantin Brancusi, the graphic art of Albrecht Dürer, the history and theory of drawing, and, most recently, Islamic art. His publications include Constantin Brancusi (1987, 3. Ed. 2004), Skulptur in Berlin 1968-1988 (1988), Struktur und Erscheinung: Untersuchungen zu Dürers graphischer Kunst (1996), Shaping the Beginning: Modern Artists and the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean (2006), and Öffnungen: Zur Theorie und Geschichte der Zeichnung (2009). Fall 2016 Course (ART 580): Islam and Modern Art.
Iarla Ó Lionáird has carved a long and unique career in music in Ireland. From his iconic early recording of the vision song Aisling Gheal as a young boy to his ground breaking recordings with Dublin’s Crash Ensemble, he has shown a breadth of artistic ambition that sets him apart in the Irish Music fraternity. He has worked with a stellar cast of composers internationally, including Nico Muhly, Donnacha Dennehy, Dan Trueman, Gavin Bryars and David Lang, and he has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Nick Cave and Sinead O’Connor. His unique singing style has carried him to stages and concert halls all over the world, from New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to the Sydney Opera House, London’s Royal Albert Hall and beyond. His voice has graced the silver screen also, with film credits extending from The Gangs of New York to Hotel Rwanda and most recently as featured vocalist in the film Calvary starring Brendan Gleeson and the film adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn starring Saoirse Ronan. In 2013-14, Ó Lionáird was the inaugural Traditional Artist in Residence at University College Cork, Ireland. Fall 2016 Course (MUS 218): Making Tunes. Spring 2016 Course: Introduction to Irish Studies.
Baruch J. Schwartz is associate professor of Bible at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research centers on Biblical religion and law, the composition of the Pentateuch, the classical prophetic literature and medieval biblical exegesis. He is the author of The Holiness Legislation (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1999) and of the commentary on Leviticus in The Jewish Study Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) as well as numerous scholarly articles on biblical topics.
Fall 2016 Course (REL/JDS 217): The Five Books of Moses.
After gaining her B.A. from Oxford and her Ph.D from the Warburg Institute, University of London, Ruth Webb has held research and teaching positions at King’s College London, Princeton University, Birkbeck College London, the Université Paris Ouest-Nanterre and the Université Lille 3. She specializes in the Greek literature of the imperial period and late antiquity, particularly theatrical performance, rhetorical theory and practice, and the novel. Her work investigates literature’s points of contact with non-literary texts, such as rhetorical handbooks or scholia, as well as the cultural contexts of literary production. Spring 2017 Course: Graduate Seminar – Theories and Practices of Fiction in Imperial Greek Literature, Culture and Society.
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 2017-18 Short-Term Fellows nominations is October 7, 2016 (round one) and March 13, 2017 (round two). Online nomination forms.
2016–17 Short-Term Visiting Fellows
Geoffrey Khan will be Whitney J. Oates Fellow in the Humanities Council and the Department of Near Eastern Studies in April 2017. He is the Regius Professor of Hebrew in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. Professor Khan’s research interests include all periods of the Hebrew language, Aramaic and its modern spoken dialects, and of premodern Arabic legal and administrative documents.
Miriam Leonard will be Whitney J. Oates Fellow in the Humanities Council, the Department of Classics and the Program of European Cultural Studies in February 2017. She is Professor of Greek Literature and its Reception at University College London. Her research explores the intellectual history of classics in modern European thought from the eighteenth century to the present.
Robert Orsi will be Stewart Fellow in Religion in the Humanities Council and Department of Religion in Spring 2017. Robert Orsi is Professor of Religious Studies and History and Grace Craddock Nagle Chair in Catholic Studies at Northwestern University. He studies American religious history and contemporary practice; American Catholicism in both historical and ethnographic perspectives; and he is widely recognized also for his work on theory and method in the study of religion.
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.