Current Magic Projects


  • Human-Centered Automation for Resilient and Inclusive Built Environments
    Arash Adel (Architecture)

This grant will support a Spring 2025 exhibition featuring a virtual, immersive, and interactive experience to explore the potential of human-robot collaboration for building more inclusively, efficiently, and sustainably. The exhibit will contain a physical display of prototypes and artifacts and include teaching materials and a mini-lecture series.

  • Excited Delirium: The Invention of a Disease
    Aisha Beliso-De Jesús (Effron Center)

In collaboration with documentary filmmaker Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, this grant will support the creation of a short documentary film based on Aisha Beliso-De Jesús’ forthcoming book, “Excited Delirium: Race, Police Violence and the Invention of a Disease.” Through historical context, archival footage, animation and more, the film will equip scholars, students, and the public to challenge and reshape the medical narratives that obscure systemic racial violence.

  • Island at the Crossroads: New Directions in Taiwan Studies
    Janet Chen (History; East Asian Studies)

This project brings the field of Taiwan Studies to Princeton, where it currently has no presence. The absence contrasts sharply to the prominent—and precarious—place  of Taiwan in the global economy and geopolitics. Its history and society also offer compelling case studies for democratization, social movements, and postcolonialism. The grant will support a Princeton faculty planning meeting, a teaching workshop, and an academic conference in October 2025.

  • The Modern Breakthrough in Scandinavia: Philosophy, Science, Art
    Hans Halvorson (Philosophy) Bridget Alsdorf (Art & Archaeology)

Scandinavia, from 1870 to 1920, saw breakthroughs in drama, visual art, and philosophy, as well as in natural science, medicine, and political organization. This grant will support the creation of a new scholarly network at Princeton and in Scandinavia, including four cross-disciplinary faculty and student workshops, and a week-long break trip to Copenhagen in Spring 2026 as part of a new team-taught undergraduate humanistic studies course.

  • Photography as Poetic Document
    Deana Lawson (Lewis Center for the Arts)

This grant will support a two-day symposium in October 2024 and a concurrent photographic exhibition in the Lewis Center for the Arts that will gather photo-based artists, writers, curators, historians, and graduate and undergraduate students to explore photography’s instability, fallibility, and its  “troubled relationship to the document.”

  • The Ends of Prosody
    Meredith Martin (English; Center for Digital Humanities)

Gathering computational and literary scholars for a four-day conference at Princeton in May 2025 and for a concurrent graduate caucus, this project will develop new full-text datasets from the Princeton Prosody Archive and share research based on sources found in the database. Participants will discuss research infrastructure, curating and constructing datasets, querying and organizing search results, and contextualizing analyzing texts and computational outputs.

  • Connecting Visitors to Digital Cross-Disciplinary Content in the New Museum
    James Steward (Princeton University Art Museum)

This grant supports the development of approximately 10 in-gallery video stations for the new Princeton University Art Museum, designed to stimulate inquiries and afford perspectives beyond those in physical gallery labels. The project will build on past collaborations and develop new partnerships across campus and in diverse communities for the sourcing of content and voices.

  • Music Theory in the Plural
    Anna Yu Wang (Music); Jurgen Hackl (Civil and Environmental Engineering)

This grant will support efforts to develop a “controlled vocabulary” for global music theory as well as a data visualization network that will change how music theory and network science are taught and learned. Through research-led teaching, this project would allow Princeton students in the Departments of Music and Civil and Environmental Engineering the opportunity to explore computational methods for music theoretical inquiry.


  • Translating the Untranslatable: Exploring René Char’s Wartime Poetry
    Sandra Bermann (Comparative Literature)

Working with a new Princeton University Library digital archive of translations of René Char’s Feuillets d’Hypnos, developed with a 2023-24 Magic Grant, this project includes an April 2025 international conference at Princeton and a related undergraduate break trip to France in Spring 2025. The grant will support new global, scholarly engagement with the materials while engaging undergraduate and graduate students in a major research and translation project via collaborative, hands-on archival-digital study.

  • Women in European Cinema
    Maria DiBattista (English); Gaetana Marrone Puglia (French and Italian)

This Fall 2024 course will provide the historical and theoretical background essential for understanding the representation of women in European cinema and its evolution. Students will explore and assess the ways that cultural identity determines the cinematic representation of women, while receiving a solid grounding in the poetics of cinema as it developed across time, genres, and cultures. The grant will support a research assistant and materials related to course development and enhancement.

  • Reimagining ANT 437, “Gaming Blackness”
    Akil Fletcher (Anthropology; Humanities Council; Society of Fellows)

This grant will help enhance the undergraduate anthropology course, originally taught in Fall 2023. The class will engage themes of racial representation, imagery, and gameplay to analyze the medium of video games as an avenue for cultural expression. The reconceptualized course will include an added focus on Black representation in Japanese video games to coincide with a Fall 2024 break trip to Tokyo, Japan.

  • New THR course on María Irene Fornés, Spring 2025
    Brian Herrera (Lewis Center for the Arts)

This grant will support the development of a new Spring 2025 theater course dedicated to the life, work, and legacy of Cuban-born playwright María Irene Fornés. With course activities, guest speakers, a playwriting intensive, a pop-up performance, and a theater-going trip to New York City, students will make theater and build creative community throughout the semester. 

  • Relaunching HUM 417 focused on Greek Architecture
    Samuel Holzman (Art & Archaeology);  Branko Glisic (Civil and Environmental Engineering)

First offered in 2022, this course focused on Roman architecture and centered on a break trip to Rome. In 2024, this redesigned team-taught course will have a new focus on ancient Greek architecture, with projects centered on a trip to Athens. Students will visit architectural sites and meet specialists working at the intersection of cultural heritage and structural engineering.

  • Chain Reactions: Princeton-Hiroshima Student Partnership and Future Memories of the Atomic Age
    Ryo Morimoto (Anthropology)

This project engages Princeton Native undergraduate students and alumni representing six tribal nations, an anthropology graduate student, Hiroshima students, and a third-generation victim of the atomic bomb at the University of Tokyo in a year-long dialogue and exchange to produce a multimedia exhibition of the atomic age to be held at the University in May 2025. The grant supports the exhibition, as well as a weeklong student trip to Japan in Summer 2024.

  • Princeton-in-Leipzig
    Jamie Rankin (German); Wendy Heller (Music); Ruth Ochs (Music)

This grant will support new collaborative summer program will immerse Princeton students in the rich musical heritage and language-learning opportunities in Leipzig, Germany, led by faculty from the Departments of Music and German alongside local partners. Students will have the opportunity to engage with a variety of performance approaches, make connections with professional musicians from around the world, while developing increasing proficiency in German.

  • Pacific Archives and Indigenous Cosmologies
    Sarah Rivett (English; Effron Center)

This grant supports a break trip to Juneau and Sitka, Alaska, for students in the American studies course “Pacific Archives and Indigenous Cosmologies” which will be co-led by instructors Sarah Rivett and Branka Arsić, Long-Term Visiting Fellow in the Humanities Council. The course is also part of Land, Language and Art: A Global Initiative from the Humanities Council.

  • Contemporary Art: The World Picture
    Irene Small (Art & Archaeology)

A new iteration of ART 456 “Contemporary Art: The World Picture” in Fall 2024 will investigate the “global turn” in contemporary art signaled by the 1989 exhibition “Magicien de la Terre.” Examining international mega-exhibitions of contemporary art as forms of worldmaking, the course asks how art addresses urgent questions of political and cultural conflict. This grant will support a break trip to the 60th Venice Biennale.

  • Musical Theatre and Fan Cultures
    Stacy Wolf (Lewis Center for the Arts; Effron Center); Betsy Armstrong (Sociology; SPIA)

Why do people love Broadway musicals? This Spring 2025 team-taught humanistic studies course examines the social forms co-created by performers and audiences and the wider phenomenon of fan culture. This grant supports course enrichment, including guest lectures and course travel to form the experiential and intellectual backbone of the seminar.


  • Beyond Provenance: What Information Doesn’t Tell Us
    Erin Besler (Architecture)

Hosted by the School of Architecture in 2023-24, Beyond Provenance is a new workshop series that examines “provenance” across fields of inquiry and collectively reimagines its exigency for the built environment. The sessions, developed in collaboration with Sarah Hearne (University of Colorado, Denver), will incorporate remote object demonstrations and bring Princeton graduate students and faculty together with inventive technicians, historians, and practitioners whose research focuses on the circulation of artifacts.

  • Sick Architecture 2
    Beatriz Colomina (Architecture)

This collaborative project, developed from an ongoing interdisciplinary seminar, allows graduate students to investigate a wide range of intersections between medicine and architecture. Now in its second phase, the grant will support expanded research exhibitions in Princeton and with the School of Architecture.

  • Queer Spaces in the World, Concepts and Methods
    S. E. Eisterer (Architecture)

The Queer Space Working Group, an interdisciplinary student-faculty group, was founded in spring 2021 to discuss key scholarly questions in the study of queer spaces. This grant will help the working group develop a new conference component anchored in a series of discussions institutionally focusing on methods and concepts that have emerged in the field of LGBTQ+ global spatial studies.

  • Borobudur: New Directions for Research
    Jonathan Gold (Religion)

This grant supports an on-site workshop at the famous Buddhist monument of Borobudur, a masterpiece of stone carving near Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The exploratory workshop will bring together 24 scholars and graduate students from around the globe to generate new insights and scholarly research around the site, and establish a Borobudur research network centered at Princeton.

  • LOGION: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Philology
    Barbara Graziosi (Classics); Johannes Haubold (Classics); Karthik Narasimhan (Computer Science); Suma Bhat (Computer Science)

This project aims to develop a scalable, Natural Language Processing (NLP) model, called Logion, to support philological restoration of ancient and medieval Greek texts. Together, philologists and NLP experts will assess results of the machine learning algorithm, and undergraduate students will work to create a user-friendly interface for the program.

  • Suspended in the Air: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Workshop at Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
    Molly Greene (History and Hellenic Studies)

This grant will support an eight-day intensive workshop at the Meteora monasteries in Thessaly, Greece. The workshop will introduce graduate students to the rich heritage of the monastic community of Meteora, as well as provide a foundation in methods of Greek paleography, the transmission history of ancient and medieval texts, and the history of premodern and early modern book culture.

  • Chile 9/11
    Javier Guerrero(Spanish and Portuguese)

September 11, 2023 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the military coup against President Salvador Allende in Chile. This grant will support a series of workshops, symposia, panels, art installations, and performances to commemorate this anniversary and its legacy for Chile and the Americas. The sessions will emphasize the role of the arts in confronting and resisting fascism. 

  • Postwar New York: Workshops
    Joshua Kotin (English)

This grant supports three workshops that will enhance the spring 2024 graduate seminar, “Postwar New York,” taught by Joshua Kotin. The workshops will connect students to mid-career scholars and extend discussions beyond the classroom to offer a more comprehensive account of the artistic, literary, and intellectual culture in 1960s New York.

  • Re/Framing Eastern European Cinema
    Yuri Leving (Slavic Languages and Literatures)

This two-day international conference will focus on Eastern European cinema before and in the aftermath of the Russian-Ukrainian war of 2022. Participants will interrogate the cultural canon, challenge common historical interpretations, and reflect on the visual experiences of displacement and violence in light of the largest military crisis in Europe since WWII.

  • Albertus Magnus’ De Natura Loci
    Hendrik Lorenz (Philosophy)

Albertus Magnus’ De Natura Loci, written in the 1250s, is a key text for the history of the modern concept of race and for Iberian exploration and colonization in Africa and the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries. This grant supports a four-day workshop in 2024, which will bring together faculty and scholars who have contributed research on the text. 

  • Re-Discovering Semiotics for the Humanities and Social Sciences
    Federico Marcon (East Asian Studies and History)

This event series, to be held between 2023-2025, aims to re-introduce the theory and methodology of interpretive semiotics to Princeton graduate students and faculty working within the humanities and social sciences. Its long-term aim is to develop a platform for interactive and collaborative interdisciplinary research that connects an international network of scholars interested in semiotics.

  • The Princeton LLM Forum: Interdisciplinary Conversations about Large Language Models
    Meredith Martin (English and Center for Digital Humanities); Danqi Chen (Computer Science)

Recent breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI) have produced a new class of neural networks called Large Language Models (LLMs) that demonstrate a capability to generate fluent, plausible responses to prompts posed in natural language. This interdivisional group of faculty, staff, and students will examine LLMs from different angles and consider the role they may play in culture and society going forward.

  • The Fluid Futures Forum
    Anne McClintock (Gender and Sexuality and High Meadows Environmental Institute); Ryo Morimoto (Anthropology)

This grant will fund a new initiative that brings together faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students across the humanities, sciences, and arts, to generate collaborations focused on the planet’s urgent and enduring water-related challenges. The Fluid Futures Forum will feature monthly discussions, an art exhibition, and a multi-media conference set to launch in 2024.

  • Translating Mesoamerica: Learning about Indigenous Cultures through Princeton’s Nahuatl Documents from Colonial Mexico & Central America
    Nadia Cervantes Pérez (Spanish and Portuguese)

This project will produce a visually engaging and interactive platform, built by the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, that includes the translation and curation of manuscripts and documents in Indigenous languages from the Princeton University Library’s Mesoamerican Collection. This grant supports both Spanish and English translators, who will transcribe and translate some of the most prominent Nahuatl manuscripts. 

  • Arriving in the Present: Transcultural Perspectives in Contemporary German-Speaking Contexts Phase II
    Sara S. Poor (German); Barbara N. Nagel (German)

This reading group aims to expand and diversify the community of the Department of German at Princeton by fostering the study of “Transnational Literatures” and “Literatures of (Post-)Migration,” two increasingly relevant fields in German studies. Building on a 2023 Humanities Council Flash Grant, this initiative will develop a new conference in spring 2024.

  • Be Kunu – African Music at Princeton
    Michael Pratt (Music; University Orchestra); Olivier Tarpaga (Music)

This project aims to introduce the community to rich artistic and cultural material from the African continent via collaborations, new artistic creations, and performances. The Magic Grant will support a spring 2024 event featuring a suite of new music created and performed via a collaboration between the Princeton University Orchestra, the African Music Ensemble, and musicians who specialize in ancient African string instruments and balafon.

  • The Animal Song Collective
    Gavin Steingo (Music); Asif Ghazanfar (Neuroscience and Psychology)

This project brings together humanists and scientists to explore the idea of “animal song” from a cross-disciplinary and collaborative perspective. Researchers, writers, and artists will examine the topic in hopes of gaining greater understanding of its intricacies, from social synchronization and linguistic turn-taking to biosemiotics. The grant supports two weeklong workshops, in-person research in Cape Town and San Diego, and a symposium in fall 2024.


  • Revisiting Paris
    André Benhaïm (French and Italian)

This 200-level course will study Paris as an urban space, an object of representation, and part of a French cultural identity. This Magic Grant will support a fall break trip to Paris, where undergraduate students will explore the city’s historical memory, its contemporary life, and its cultural activity.

  • Korean Language Learning in Virtual Environments: Exploring and Navigating the Metropolitan City of Seoul & UNESCO World Heritage Sites
    Ho Jung Choi (East Asian Studies)

This grant will enhance the Princeton in Korea summer course by integrating virtual reality (VR) components to the language-learning experience. Students will explore the city of Seoul, which represents a blend of traditional culture and modern technology.

  • Democratizing Culture: The State of the Arts in France
    Florent Masse (French and Italian)

This grant will support the creation of a new course, cross-listed in French and Italian and the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater. The course will explore initiatives by French cultural institutions to democratize culture, and includes a spring break trip to Paris, where students will visit major cultural institutions and meet with officials at the Ministry of Culture.

  • The Building and Ecology of the Ise Shrines
    Guy Nordenson (Architecture)

The Ise Shrine (Jingū), in Mie Prefecture, Japan, is a complex of Shinto shrines and other buildings that are rebuilt every 20 years. With few interruptions, the rebuilding has continued for over 1200 years. This grant will support a Freshman Seminar fall-break trip to Japan where undergraduate students will meet scholars at the University of Tokyo and visit the Ise Shrines.

  • Building Life: Architecture, Science and Environmental Epistemes
    Spyros Papapetros (Architecture)

This two-day international conference, which will be held at Princeton and the Museum of Modern Art, will extend the investigations of a homonymous graduate seminar on the parallel development of biological theories and architectural practices in the 19th and 20th centuries. The grant will support the conference, as well as facilitate an in-person visit to the “Emerging Ecologies” exhibition at the MoMA.

  • Theater in Early Modern London: The Purpose of Playing
    Bailey Sincox (Humanities Council, English, and Humanistic Studies)

This grant will enrich a new, interdisciplinary 400-level seminar in fall 2023, which provides a comprehensive, performance-centered introduction to English drama’s golden age (circa 1570-1640). Students will travel to the United Kingdom to experience first-hand theatrical spaces that they study in class, including the recreation Globe and Whitehall’s Banqueting House, the British Library, Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Other New Projects in the Humanities

In addition to Magic awards, the Humanities Council supports faculty projects through:

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