The Humanities Council supports a wide array of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate projects related to humanistic inquiry.
Through our Conference and Project Co-sponsorship funds, the Humanities Council provides small grants to faculty and graduate students for humanities-related projects, including conferences, workshops, colloquia, lectures, readings, performances, interdisciplinary courses, and film screenings.
The Humanities Council also offers Innovation Grants and special project funding to enable faculty and students to develop new programs and create intellectual communities that will broaden the scope of their activities. We seek to foster new programs in emerging or underrepresented fields and provide the resources and connections necessary for growth.
Our Visiting Fellowship programs bring distinguished scholars from other universities to teach at Princeton for long- or short-term residencies, while our Faber Lectures and Belknap Visitor programs offer opportunities to bring distinguished scholars, writers, and artists to campus for an intensive day-long visit and public lecture.
We offer competitive Research and Teaching Professorships for Princeton faculty through our Old Dominion and Behrman Professorships. The Council also supports several Lecturers and Postdoctoral Fellows in Humanistic Studies, Digital Humanities, Linguistics, Religion, South Asian Studies/Sanskrit, and American Studies.
Undergraduate interdisciplinary research and travel is supported through our interdisciplinary certificate programs. The Ferris and McPhee endowments for journalism support a number of student publications, internships, and independent writing projects.
The Council provides co-sponsorship for humanities-related programs, including conferences, workshops, colloquia, lectures, readings/performances, interdisciplinary courses, and reading groups. In most cases, the Council co-sponsors events that already have support from their home departments, typically offering amounts less than or equal to the home department’s contribution. Grants typically range from $250 to $2,500 for conferences or one-time co-sponsorships. Requests for greater amounts will be considered for special projects in the humanities and for those that require the primary sponsorship and administrative support of the Humanities Council.
Priority is given to faculty and graduate members of the Council’s 46 participating departments and programs, although interdisciplinary humanities-related requests from other units are encouraged.
The Council’s co-sponsorship fund does not support individual research projects or individual travel for faculty or graduate students.
Proposals initiated by graduate students must be presented by a faculty sponsor and followed by a brief email from the department chair endorsing the project.
Additional funding resources are available from the Council, including the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Grants, which includes grants for developing interdisciplinary team-taught courses. Departments and programs may apply for funds through the Visiting Fellows program and the Faber Lectures.
If you have questions about whether your project is eligible for consideration, please email Kathleen Crown, Executive Director.
How to apply
Please complete the online Funding Request Form (requires a Princeton University login). The form will ask for the amount contributed by the home department and any amounts solicited from or contributed by other campus units.
Faculty proposals for co-sponsorship are accepted throughout the year and considered on a rolling basis. We ask that requests be submitted at least one month in advance of the proposed event.
The deadline for graduate-student-initiated programs for Fall 2016 has passed; requests for Spring 2017 must be received by no later than February 1, 2017.
The Council provides funds, connections, and logistical support for faculty and research staff who wish to establish or maintain interdisciplinary reading and discussion groups. In some cases, the Council will publicize the opportunity by issuing a wide call for potential participants; other smaller, more focused groups may be formed by invitation only. Past initiatives have included the “Classical Literature Workshop” and the “Avant-Garde Workshop.” Current initiatives include discussion groups in comparative antiquity, textuality and reading practices, and medical humanities. Groups may invite guest speakers or periodically host interdisciplinary conferences and symposia.
These funds are intended to provide full support for new initiatives or sustain those that are not home based in a department or program. Requests for co-sponsorship of a reading group should be submitted through the “conference and project co-sponsorship” funding portal.
Faculty and graduate students may propose humanities-related reading and discussion groups. Graduate students submitting proposals should name a faculty sponsor and arrange for a brief email from their department chair(s) endorsing the project. Graduate students are encouraged to apply first to the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM) for funding to support graduate reading groups.
How to apply
Faculty and graduate students who wish to constitute such groups are invited to email Kathleen Crown, Executive Director, with a proposal.
Proposals are accepted throughout the year and considered on a rolling basis.
The Magic Project provides innovation grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to Princeton faculty members, thanks to the generosity of Lynn Shostack, in memory of her husband, David A. Gardner ’69.
The goal is to support ideas that break new ground intellectually and pedagogically and have the potential to change how the humanities are conceived and taught. The 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. Read about the Magic Grants awarded for the current academic year, 2016-17.
Magic grants for 2017-18 will be awarded for first-time projects to be carried out in the coming academic year (starting in the summer of 2017 and ending no later than the summer of 2018). In exceptional cases, funds can be granted for a two- or three-year period (e.g., for projects requiring advance preparation, multiple components, or specific timing).
Magic grants do not support teaching salary, with the exception of $7500 summer stipends to assistant, associate, and full professors from different departments who propose to develop a new team-taught course of broad interdisciplinary interest. (See “Team Teaching Grants in Humanistic Studies.“)
Grants are intended to reflect one or more facets of the Project’s mission:
- to encourage unusual, even surprising, intellectual endeavors that depart from the status quo and have the potential to reshape a body of knowledge;
- to foster interdisciplinary collaborations and team-teaching across fields;
- to enlarge the curriculum in ways that encourage both faculty and students to adopt new modes of thought that transcend traditional academic boundaries;
- to expose students to educational riches that might not otherwise be visible or available to them because of class size restrictions, budgetary limits, or other obstacles; and
- to encourage humanities faculty to collaborate with a colleague in science and engineering on a joint project.
Who is eligible to apply:
Regular Princeton faculty (senior lecturers; assistant, associate, full professors) may apply. Other faculty, research, and administrative members of the University may be co-proposers.
Lecturers, research scholars, and postdoctoral fellows on continuing appointments are also eligible to propose projects, under the following conditions:
- the funds will be used to support pedagogical initiatives (e.g., new courses; student activity/travel in an educational context; innovative teaching materials/installations);
- the request is accompanied by an endorsement from the department chair; and
- for course-related activities, the department confirms that the course would be offered and a teaching salary provided (Magic grants do not support teaching salary).
Project Eligibility Checklist:
- A new, first-time endeavor: Magic grants are intended to be the initiating spark for a project and to be its primary support. They do not sustain established programs.
- Carried out in the coming academic year, 2017-18: Grants will be awarded in July 2017. Projects should begin no earlier than summer of 2017 and must be carried out in academic year 2017-18, concluding no later than August 2018. In exceptional cases, funds can be granted for a two- or three-year period; for such proposals, please include a rationale for the project’s requiring advance preparation, multiple components, or specific timing.
- A reconception of 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.
- Led by Princeton faculty and of benefit to the Princeton University community: Magic grants do not support projects administered by or housed in organizations other than Princeton University.
- Not clearly eligible for established, traditional sources of University funding.
How to Apply
Before you submit a project proposal, you are encouraged to contact Kathleen Crown, Executive Director of the Humanities Council, for guidance on eligibility criteria, necessary components of the proposal, and preliminary feedback on an initial draft.
The online application form will require the following documents as attachments:
1. A brief, compelling abstract of the proposal (up to 200 words), clearly stating who is involved, what the funds will be used for, and where, when, and how it will be carried out. It should further convey what makes the project innovative and potentially important. The abstract should be able to stand on its own as an overview of the project.
2. A detailed proposal for the full project, which must include the following:
- project title
- name(s) of proposer(s)
- principal departments involved
- start and end dates, schedule of when all work will be done
- innovative nature of the project in relation to the humanities
- project’s benefit to Princeton University faculty and students
- names of Princeton faculty and students who will be involved
- intended non-university participants, with names and affiliations if known
- a detailed budget (travel, lodging, food, materials) for the full project, indicating amounts contributed by, or solicited from, other offices on campus, particularly the host department
3. Proposals involving new courses or course-related student travel must also be accompanied by a brief email of endorsement from the chair of the relevant department, indicating any financial and logistical support the department will provide. You may attach that letter/email to the application form or have it sent directly to Kathleen Crown.
Proposals under serious consideration may be reviewed by faculty experts in the relevant fields, in consultation with the Council of Science and Technology, the Center for Digital Humanities, the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Dean of Research, the Dean of the College, and other campus offices.
Other sources for humanities innovation funding include the Dean for Research Innovation Funds and The 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education.
Project Proposal Form (requires a Princeton University login)
Deadlines and Grant Cycles
- October 24: Round one deadline
- December 2016: Applicants will be notified of decisions for round one.
- March 6: Round two deadline
- May 1: Applicants will be notified of decisions for round two.
- July 2017: Funds will be transferred after the start of the 2017 fiscal year (begins July 1, 2017).
- May 15, 2018: Grantees must submit final reports on completed projects using an online form. Links will be provided, along with reminders from the Council.
Through the David A. Gardner Magic Project, the Council invites pairs or groups of Princeton faculty members to apply for summer stipends of $7500 to develop team-taught undergraduate courses that reach beyond a single department/unit and are explicitly interdisciplinary in their conception.
The Program in Humanistic Studies offers summer grants of up to $7500 for each of the assistant, associate, and full professors who team teach in interdisciplinary courses:
We also seek proposals for new team-taught, interdisciplinary courses that are of broad interest across departments and divisions, thereby fulfilling a requirement in the Humanistic Studies certificate. The certificate in interdisciplinary study aims to increase the reach of the humanities across campus, reaching undergraduates of diverse disciplinary backgrounds, including those who are majoring in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering but also have a serious and longstanding interest in the humanities.
Eligible courses will be based or cross-listed in Humanistic Studies and will fulfill a requirement for the undergraduate certificate, with a few seats reserved for those students. These courses should examine larger questions and major texts, building bridges either within the humanistic disciplines or across the humanities, creative arts, social sciences and natural sciences. For team-taught courses with a home designation of Humanistic Studies, the Humanities Council will be able to support the FTE for one (and sometimes both) of the faculty members.
Examples of past team-taught courses include “Imagined Languages” (Michael Gordin and Joshua Katz); “Adventures in Ideas” (Robert George and Cornel West); and “The Age of Discovery” (Adam Beaver and Christina Lee).
Assistant, Associate or Full Professors are invited to express interest for AY 17-18 or AY 18-19 and may apply in pairs or groups. A single faculty member may indicate an interest in a topic; the Humanities Council will work with partners on campus to identify faculty interested in collaboration. One member of the proposed team must be home-based in a humanities department or in a humanities-related social science (e.g., history, cultural anthropology, political theory).
For innovative courses that are not eligible for course preparation grants, Magic Grants may nonetheless support a range of course-related activities, including class trips, break trips, guest speakers, and international components. See “Innovation Grants.”
How to Apply
Interested colleagues are encouraged to email Kathleen Crown, Executive Director, with a one-page course proposal or to request for more information.
There are two avenues for applying:
- Two or more faculty members may apply as a team by submitting a one-page proposal.
- Individual faculty members may apply by describing a course that would benefit from collaboration with a colleague in another branch of the university. When possible, the Council will work with partners on campus (eg, Council for Science and Technology, the Lewis Center for the Arts) to help identify appropriate intellectual counterparts.
Course proposals for academic year 2017-18 should be submitted by December 1, 2016 and by no later than February 1, 2017. Queries about courses to be offered in 2018-19 are considered on a rolling basis and should be emailed to Kathleen Crown, Executive Director.
Eberhard L. Faber 1915 Memorial Lectures in Literature
The gift of Eberhard L. Faber IV is intended to support department chairs and program directors seeking to host lectures, colloquia, workshops and discussions in the field of literature. We define “literature” broadly to include such topics as criticism, history, theory, and the relation of literature to society, technology, and the other arts. The Humanities Council especially welcomes proposals for innovative formats and events that might not readily be accommodated as regular departmental lectures.
The total contribution for an individual event may amount to $3,500, although not all events will require the full amount. An invitation to an early-career scholar or a nearby guest would normally entail fewer expenses. The Faber fund is usually the primary source of support, although departments may occasionally supplement Faber grants with their own funds. Events funded by the Faber endowment are considered “Faber Lectures” publicized as “Eberhard L. Faber 1915 Memorial Fund in the Humanities Council” and will be listed as part of the Faber series on the Council’s website. Here are the expenses to be covered:
- Economy fare transportation from home campus (or the last campus visited) to Princeton
- Honoraria (typically $500 for early career scholars; $1,000/$1,500 for senior visitors)
- Meals and lodging
- Posters and advertisements
Proposals are invited from department chairs and from directors of Council-sponsored and Council-affiliated interdisciplinary programs.
How to Apply
Requests for Faber lectures should be submitted before formal invitations are extended. It is particularly important to check possible dates against the year-long Humanities Council Calendar of Events. The Council does not typically fund proposals that conflict with other related events. To propose a Faber Lecture, email Susan Coburn, office specialist in the Humanities Council.
Before extending a formal invitation, and at least four weeks before the anticipated date. Forms are accepted year-round.
Long-Term Visiting Fellows
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 Belknap Visiting Fellowships bring distinguished practitioners to teach for a semester; the Humanities Council encourages proposals for these visitors to co-teach with a faculty member in a humanities department.
Nominations are invited from chairs of humanities departments and directors of Council-sponsored programs.
How to apply
The online nomination form is currently closed.
The deadline for nominating 2017-18 Long-Term Visiting Fellows was October 7, 2016.
Short-Term Visiting Fellows
During intensive three- to five-day visits, these Fellows lecture and participate in classes, colloquia and informal discussions. Belknap Visitors may be distinguished scholars, artists, and writers.
Nominations are invited from chairs of humanities departments and directors of Council-sponsored programs.
How to apply
Application (requires a Princeton University login)
The deadline for nominating 2017-18 Short-Term Visiting Fellows was October 7, 2016 (round one). A second round of nominations will be considered, with a deadline of March 6, 2017.
Belknap Visitors in the Humanities Council
The public lecture program of Belknap Visitors was created to recognize highly distinguished individuals in the arts and letters. Belknap Visitors spend an intensive day on campus. Read more about the Belknap program and recent visitors.
Any members of the Princeton community may nominate a visitor.
How to apply
To nominate a Belknap Visitor, please send a one-page nomination to Kathleen Crown, Executive Director.
Belknap visits require significant advance planning. Nominations are usually made a year or more in advance of a potential visit.
Belknap “Global Conversations” Series
The Council is pleased to announce a new Belknap Visitor program that will bring distinguished writers, artists, and scholars to campus for events that bridge “arts and ideas” in a global context. The program aims to provoke dialogue on a theme of broad interest in the realm of arts and letters that will cut across disciplinary boundaries and world regions.
We invite proposals for visitors whose work has global reach and will engage a cross-disciplinary audience from approaches that are both creative (e.g., a reading, performance, or master class) and critical (e.g., a conversation, lecture, or visit to a graduate seminar). The Belknap endowment can contribute from $2500 to $10,000, and the guest will be named a “Belknap Visitor in the Humanities Council.”
This program is intended to encourage new cross-departmental collaborations and to serve as primary financial support for a multi-department project based in the Humanities Council. Requests for co-sponsorship of departmental or program events should be submitted through the conference and project co-sponsorship portal.
Nominations are invited from faculty in any department and programs. There are two avenues for making a proposal:
- Two or more faculty members (or departments) representing different disciplinary approaches may submit a one-page proposal and preliminary budget. Visits might be comprised of two separate events (e.g., pairing a “master class” with a visit to graduate seminar; a performance with a “conversation”), or they might consist of one event that includes creative/critical approaches and diverse audiences.
- Individual faculty members or departments may suggest a visitor who would fit this program. The Council may co-host the visit or will work to identify possible partners in relevant departments or units.
How to apply
Proposals should be sent to Kathleen Crown, Executive Director. Faculty with questions are welcome to call 8-4719 or email.
Proposals should be sent well in advance of the proposed visit, ideally as part of planning for the year ahead, and no less than six weeks before the anticipated date.
Old Dominion Research Professors
This program is designed to provide additional research time for Princeton faculty members and to enhance the humanities community more broadly.
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. Previous Old Dominion Professors are not eligible for reappointment. Appointments are made for a single academic year and may not be spread across two years.
How to apply
Full professors who have been at the University for a minimum of five years may apply online (the deadline to apply has passed):
- Curriculum vitae
- 2-3 page project proposal involving new and exploratory work or ongoing scholarly projects
- Copy of the leave request that has been submitted to the Dean of the Faculty
December 1, 2016 for an AY 2017-18 Professorship. Applicants will be notified of decisions in late January 2017.
Behrman Professors in the Humanities
Behrman Professors are faculty of tenured rank who are appointed for a three-year term to teach in the Humanistic Studies Program (the Humanities Sequence and a a team-taught capstone seminar), in recognition of which the Humanities Council will provide a semester’s leave at the end of the three years.
Humanities faculty of tenured rank are eligible to apply.
How to apply
Applications should comprise:
- a statement of interest;
- a curriculum vitae;
- teaching evaluations;
- a list of courses taught; and
- a brief letter from the chair of the home department confirming that the department can release the faculty member on the terms of the professorship.
The online application form is currently closed.
The deadline to apply for a Behrman appointment beginning in academic year 2017-18 was October 7, 2016. Applicants who expect to be on leave in 2017-18 may apply to begin the professorship in 2018-19.
Undergraduate and graduate student research and travel is supported through our several interdisciplinary certificate programs. The Ferris and McPhee endowments for journalism support a number of student publications, internships, and independent writing projects.