About Magic

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.

Magic grants are intended to be the initiating spark for a project and to be its primary support. 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. We invite risk-taking and experimentation. In this context, the word “magic” is used metaphorically to signal the possibility of making new things happen.

The Humanities Council strongly supports enrichment of Princeton pedagogy and is committed to funding “breakthrough” courses and workshops that include experiential/field components and move outside the traditional classroom setting. Previous examples include Princeton-based activities, such as integrated “lab” participation (“BattleLab” and “Alchemy” courses); work in digital archives; visits to historical/cultural sites, whether domestic or international; or Wintersession academic activities. Activities may be a few days, over a break, or several weeks in length.  We aim to deepen and internationalize learning across the humanities curriculum, with a focus on interdisciplinary or cross-divisional curricular innovation.

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