Past Magic Projects

Tala Khanmalek (left), a postdoctoral research associate in the programs in gender and sexuality studies and American studies, co-taught the course “Medical Story-Worlds" with Elena Fratto (right).

2018-19

Alphabetographies
Eduardo Cadava (English)

The Humanities Council’s Long-Term Visiting Belknap Fellow, Susan Meiselas, renowned photographer and storyteller in images, will team teach a course in the the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in the Humanities (IHUM), Alphabetographies with Eduardo Cadava.  Examining the roots of visuality and literacy, the course also considers collaborations between writers and photographers. Their Magic Project award will support enrichment of the course through class trips to regional photography exhibitions and visits to the course by photographers such as Jim Goldberg, Latoya Ruby Frazier, and Fazal Sheikh. The project culminates in a one day workshop that weaves together these exposures and discussions.

Exposure: Utah and the Bears Ears Monument
Michael Celia (Director, Princeton Environmental Institute and Civil and Environmental Engineering); Fazal Sheikh (photographer)

A Magic Grant will provide partial support for the Princeton Environmental Institute’s Barron Visiting Professor Fazal Sheikh to enrich his Environmental Humanities course with a Spring 2019 break trip to Utah. As part of this project, entitled Exposure: Utah and the Bears Ears Monument, undergraduates will meet with policy makers and with individuals impacted, not least members of the Navajo nation, which communally holds the lands as sacred, while also contextualizing the role of extractive industries in the state. The course interacts with other PEI-sponsored events throughout the semester, including a late-spring conference, a web presence, and a museum exhibition based on the project’s studies.

How to Read the Archive? Responses to Jacques Derrida’s Geschlecht III
Katie Chenoweth (French and Italian)

How to Read the Archive? Responses to Jacques Derrida’s Geschlecht III will use support to explore new methodologies for reading archival materials and creating dialogue across archival collections. Geschlecht III is a major archival discovery that offers a powerful deconstruction of nationalism via Jacques Derrida’s close reading of an essay by Martin Heidegger. Katie Chenoweth in the Department of French and Italian will gather scholars for a two-day conference (October 12-13, 2018), inviting them to respond to this recently unearthed text and to put it in dialogue with the philosopher’s personal library, housed at Princeton University Library.

Loosening the Bauhaus
Beatriz Colomina (Architecture)

This unique project, beyond the usual limits of the School of Architecture, is a catalyst to transform teaching within the school. For 100 years, design pedagogy has adopted and responded to techniques developed at the Bauhaus. With Loosening the Bauhaus Professor Colomina will use Magic Project funds to generate new research at Princeton and play a leadership role in establishing a multi-disciplinary “Floating University” in Berlin in August 2018. Princeton will be one of four international university partners (HFBK (Hamburg), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Columbia, and Princeton) in a 4-day Werkstatt: Technik-Fortschritt, a workshop as an educational experiment that will develop critical positions regarding the Bauhaus legacy.

Community Engagement, Educational Justice, and the Humanities
Jessica Delgado (Religion)

Jessica Delgado (Religion) plans a two-and-a-half-day conference, Community Engagement, Educational Justice, and the Humanities, convening engaged university faculty, community organizers, activists, artists, innovators, and scholars in the fields of critical pedagogy and educational justice. Cognizant that effective community engagement is not just a matter of declaring and resourcing initiatives, but also of reaching out to make decisions defining priorities inclusively with off-campus partners, the meeting will privilege examination of practices and question whether institutional aims create paradoxes that may diminish the effectiveness of universities’ inclusionary and solidarity-building community work. Building on the conference, members of the Third Space collective of scholars and activists and invited community workers will reflect, discuss, and set out reconsidered plans for their educational justice and community engagement work.

Battle Lab: The Battle of Princeton
Rachael DeLue (Art and Archaeology) and Nathan Arrington (Art and Archaeology)

Breaking new ground in Princeton’s  archaeology curriculum, the interdisciplinary Program in Humanistic Studies will bring the the first course in non-classical archaeological field research to its classroom. Led by Rachael DeLue and Nathan Arrington, Battle Lab: The Battle of Princetonwill offer students the unique opportunity to participate in the archaeological investigation of the Princeton Battlefield, the site of conflict between American and British forces in early 1777. Students will be exposed to the cross-disciplinary methods that define current archaeological practice, from archival research to application of ground-penetrating radar. The course will also confront dialogues about Revolutionary War legacies, including how sites may be preserved or their memory may change with new uses.

Read the PAW article here.

Jesus and Buddha
Jonathan Gold (Religion) and Elaine Pagels (Religion)

Based in the Program in Humanistic Studies, a new, large, introductory  course, Jesus and Buddha, team taught by Jonathan Gold and Elaine Pagels, will expand the usual offerings in Princeton’s Department of Religion to offer, for the first time, a broad-ranging introductory course in comparative religion. Gold and Pagels bring mastery of the languages, texts, and scholarship of Buddhism and Christianity, respectively, to a thematically unified weekly session. The beliefs and observances of birth, death, ritual, and revelation, among several topics, in each tradition will be drawn into comparison through a space for conversation in the classroom to illuminate the humanity shared across cultures.

Gustavo Dudamel at Princeton: Music Across Disciplines
Wendy Heller (Music)

The Department of Music will host a three-visit residency from renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel with Princeton University Concerts in the 2018-19 season. Magic Project funds will support Gustavo Dudamel at Princeton: Music Across Disciplines, activities that coalesce Dudamel’s interest in exploring music’s social, humanistic, and interdisciplinary relevance intimately connected to musical performance. Scheduled programs are, “Music & the Americas,” (December 2) “Art & Faith,” (January 8), “Art & Nature” (April 23) and “Art & Politics” (April 26-27). Post-concert multi-disciplinary panel discussions will explore the connections suggested by the programming. At the close of his residency Maestro Dudamel will conduct the Princeton University Orchestra and Glee Club in a program celebrating music’s relationship with literature,.  

Theater and Society Now
Brian Herrera (Lewis Center for the Arts)

Brian Herrera’s new course in the Program in Theater, Theater and Society Now, asks what contemporary American theater is and is not saying about the most urgent concerns of contemporary American society. With Magic Project funds students will see and do more, attending performances and venue-based discussions of some of the most intensive, engaged productions now on stage. Herrera will also use the resources to host leading theatermakers in class. Aiming to make students conversant in the social, economic, political, artistic and cultural structures that undergird how we see what we see on American stages of all kinds, the course will culminate with a late-semester “work demo” that reflects its synthesis of arts praxis, humanistic tools, and social impact.

Archaeology As History: Studying the Past by Digging in the Dirt
Janet Kay (Society of Fellows and History)

Janet Kay will use her Magic Project award to prepare a Freshman Seminar, Archaeology As History: Studying the Past by Digging in the Dirt. The course recruits students’ critical thinking skills by asking how practitioners of different techniques learn from each other, in this case how History learns from the interpretative practices of Archaeology. Kay and her students will work with specially prepared data collected from excavation archives of Roman sites in Oxfordshire. Kay worked with colleagues Kathleen Downey (Department of Anthropology, Ohio State University) and Rebecca Mountain (School of Anthropology, University of Arizona), who assessed and completed 3D-scans of the skeletal material. Using 3D-printed replicas of human skeletons and digital records of accompanying burial finds, members of Kay’s course will piece together an interpretation and ‘publish’ the burial. Students will encounter how STEM methods are integrated into archaeology and the questions facing working excavation teams prior to, during, and after fieldwork. As they work on their own interpretations, they will need to address how Historians work with these material remains.

Mapping the Empire’s Watery Ways: The Chinese Grand Canal in History, Literature, and Art,
Paize Keulemans (East Asian Studies)

Second in renown among imperial structures to China’s Great Wall, its Grand Canal was arguably more important and undoubtedly more successful. Paize Keulemans will use Magic Project funds to sponsor a research project, Mapping the Empire’s Watery Ways: The Chinese Grand Canal in History, Literature, and Art, leading to a multi-disciplinary workshop dedicated to investigating the Grand Canal as a single “structure” crucial to Chinese history through the last two millennia. As a manifestation of interconnection and network, the Grand Canal will also act as a metaphor that addresses the legacy of monumental infrastructural investments as means of integration by the Chinese state over its history.

Antioch from the Seleucids to Late Antiquity
AnneMarie Luijendijk (Religion)

This Magic Project grant will support course travel for Anne Marie Luijendijk’s Department of Religion course, concentrating on the city of Antioch, at the northeast corner of the Mediterranean, the trips will allow students to make a close study of objects in the collections of Dumbarton Oaks, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts, in addition to Princeton’s resources. Students will create a virtual exhibit drawing together material remains from Antioch over three quarters of a millennium.

Dancing with and around Neurological Motor Challenges: An Interdisciplinary Working Group
Susan Marshall (Lewis Center for the Arts); Sabine Kastner (Psychology); Naomi Leonard (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering); Brian Herrera (Lewis Center for the Arts)

How can we make environments that are inclusive and accessible for neuro-divergent individuals? Concentrating on people with motor, attention and regulation dysfunction (e.g. autism, DCD), the group will gather perspectives from art, neurology, and engineering, and will include Princeton graduate students, professional dancers, neuro-divergent individuals and their advocates, and external consultant Henny Admoni.  Meetings, starting in summer 2018, will prepare for a conference in at the end of 2018 and subsequent follow up with applied artistic creation, scientific research, tool and system innovation.

Others
Florent Mass
e (French and Italian)

A Magic Project grant will support preparation of a new team-taught course, Others, in the Department of French and Italian and Humanistic Studies, taught by Florent Masse and Visiting Belknap Fellow in the Humanities Council, Pascal Rambert, an acclaimed playwright, director, choreographer, and impresario. Incorporating Rambert’s creative process into the course plan, students will work entirely in French to write, produce and, perform a Princeton-specific production of Rambert’s play, A [micro] history of world economics, danced.

BiM Incubator of Architechnopoetics
Mitch McEwen(Architecture); Autumn M. Womack (English and African-American Studies); Nijah Cunningham (Society of Fellows,  African-American Studies and English)

Magic Project funds will support a collaboration between faculty in Architecture and African-American Studies. Drawing together three preparatory workshops to produce a performance in the Architectural Laboratory, the project is led by V. Mitch McEwen, Autumn M. Womack, and Nijah Cunningham. What do the imaginative layers of the fiction of race, spatial determination, and architecture provide to the exploration of difference and the production of blackness? Assembling scholars, architects, technologists, hackers, artists, and students, the project will synthesize the technological and social, imaginative and robotic.

Indigenous/Settler
Sarah Rivett (English and American Studies)

In 1970, Princeton University hosted the First Convocation of American Indian Scholars. It was a seminal gathering that accelerated American Indian Studies as a scholarly discipline in the United States. Sarah Rivett will use her Magic Project award to conduct Indigenous/Settler, a major two-day conference April 4-6, 2019 in the fields of American Indian, Indigenous and Settler Colonial studies. These interconnected areas of study are taking off in new directions framed by comparative, global, and interdisciplinary perspectives. The meeting will convene an inclusive slate of invitees, for a conference that aims to provide a platform for innovative discussions across the fields.

The Workshop on Tang-Song Transitions
Anna Shields (East Asian Studies)

Recently Princeton has gathered a strong cohort of scholars concentrating on “middle period” China (ca. 800-1400), a group among the strongest outside East Asia. The Workshop will capitalize on faculty, graduate students, and extensive material resources in Princeton University Art Museum, Marquand Library, and Gest Library collections. The workshop will take an interdisciplinary approach to one of the eras of epochal shift in Chinese history, which saw change in many areas of life, effecting a shift from what historians deem China’s medieval to its early modern period. The group will follow up with a conference in spring 2021 and a summer 2021 workshop to produce a conference volume.

Sound Knowledges
Gavin Steingo (Music)

Sound studies examines media and society as an alternative account to the visual. This burgeoning field has grown rapidly in recent years, but considerable work remains to done to realize its potential. Gavin Steingo takes aim at these gaps. Magic Project funding will be used to develop a forum to foster cross-disciplinary investment in sonic knowledge. This will take the form of a yearlong  2018-19 series of talks, performances, and events, along with a 2019-20 workshop that will gather scholars and artists from Princeton and beyond. Steingo will also integrate elements of the project with his undergraduate and graduate teaching.

2017-18

Course Development Grants for Team Teaching

These faculty will develop team-taught undergraduate courses that reach beyond a single department/unit and are explicitly interdisciplinary in their conception. These courses will be cross-listed in Humanistic Studies and fulfill a requirement for the undergraduate certificate program. Examining larger questions and major texts, these courses build bridges either within the arts and humanities, or across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Medical Story-Worlds
Elena Fratto (Slavic Languages and Literatures)
Tala Khanmalek (Gender and Sexuality Studies)

This team-taught seminar will explore questions of illness, health, and the body through a wide range of literary texts from all over the world, using storytelling as an entry point to these fundamental human experiences. The seminar will be interactive and highly collaborative, featuring guest lecturers from Global Health, the Lewis Center, the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories, and a Theater of the Oppressed group, who will each teach a class in their own institutional “space.” As students move from the classroom to a theater, from a lab to a dance studio, concepts and definitions are continuously reassessed and reframed.

Read the University homepage feature

How the Past Became History, from East Asia to the Ancient Mediterranean
Nino Luraghi (Classics)
Federico Marcon (History and East Asian Studies)

This is an interdisciplinary capstone course for Humanities Studies in the fall of 2017, considers Chinese, Japanese, Greek and Roman historiography, traditions of history writing, and problems of historical method and historical theory. With a strong focus on in-class discussion, the course will offer students an opportunity to engage in several different kinds of activity.

Witness
Marni Sandweiss (History) and Esther Schor (English)

This team-taught course Witness will be an interdisciplinary capstone course for Humanities Studies in the spring of 2018. What is a witness? What does it mean to witness? Who witnesses, and what does a witness do?  A collaborative effort to define the term “witness” and an introduction to the many contexts in which the act of witnessing is crucial.  We’ll relate the idea of witness to testimony and evidence – also key terms in this course. A look at “testimony” in various media – legal testimony, prints, photographs, journalistic accounts, memoir- to discuss the challenges posed by different media.

Grants for Innovation in the Humanities

Who Owns This Sentence? Copyright Culture From The Romantic Era To The Age Of The Internet
David Bellos (Comparative Literature)
Alexandre Montagu (Class of 1987, property lawyer)

Magic funds will support the preparation for a new course Who Owns This Sentence? Copyright Culture From The Romantic Era To The Age Of The Internet; course with broad appeal for undergraduate students of literature, media, and history, and one of lasting relevance for eventual careers in the humanities, law, and the performing arts.

Defining Gender in Early Modern Iberia
Marina Brownlee (Spanish and Portuguese)

This Magic grant will support a one-day workshop to explore cultural attitudes and institutions by bringing together scholars known for their contributions to the definitions of gender.

Asia Theory Visuality
Steven Chung (East Asian Studies); Erin Huang (Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies);Franz Prichard (East Asian Studies)

The conference funded by a Magic Grant will develop a forum for comparative and interdisciplinary scholarship on modern and contemporary Asia(s) at Princeton.

Thinking Cinema
Committee for Film Studies

“Thinking Cinema” will be a year-long lecture series that structures vibrant encounters between leading film scholars and the Princeton community. At its core will be the work of historians and theorists whose research interests span temporal and regional frames but who share a commitment to critical film and media analysis.

Read about the lecture series

The Story of Slag: Creating a Chronology of Copper Smelting for Japan 700-2000
Thomas Conlan (East Asian Studies and History); Howard Stone (Mechanical Aerospace Engineering); Nan Yao (Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials, PRISM)

The funds will be used for the chemical and electron microscope analysis of slag samples so as to ascertain changes in smelting over these centuries.

Story telling with Technology for Performance
Jane Cox (Theater)

The Magic fund supports guest artists and engineers for a new course “Story telling with Technology for Performance,” created by Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater and the Council on Science and Technology. Students will learn about tools and techniques from design professionals across several fields, and will engage directly and collaboratively with technology to design experiences focused around live performance.

Learning by the Book: Manuals in the History of Knowledge
Angela Creager (History)

Magic funds supports a graduate workshop, a working group of interdisciplinary scholars who are examining the role of such texts in different countries and regions, and in periods from antiquity to the present.

La Patrona Collective
Jessica Delgado (Religion)

This summer, a Magic grant will fund a research trip to Rome for La Patrona Collective for Colonial Latin American Scholarship. While in Rome, members of the Collective and graduate students will spend a week in the Vatican archives and workshops to support collaborative projects as well as student’s individual work.

Poisonous Flowers: Radical Women in Latin America
Javier Guerrero (Spanish and Portuguese)

This Magic grant funds a fall trip to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles where students will explore Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985, an art exhibition that reevaluates the contribution of Latin American, Latina, and Chicana women artists to contemporary art.  The trip is for the course Poisonous Flowers: Radical Women in Latin America.

Read the Council homepage story

The History of New Orleans: Invention and Reinvention in an American City
Joshua Guild (African American Studies and History)

Magic funds will support a spring break trip to New Orleans for students taking the course, “The History of New Orleans: Invention and Reinvention in an American City.”

 Inca Art and Architecture
Andrew Hamilton (Art and Archaeology)

Magic funds support the spring break excursion to Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lima for the Inca Art and Architecture undergraduate seminar. The excursion is designed as an “art history laboratory” where students collaboratively explore ideas and advance each other’s research.

Venice and the East
Wendy Heller (Music) and Jamie Reuland (Music)

Magic funds a spring break trip to Venice for an undergraduate seminar, Venice and the East, giving students the opportunity to explore Venice’s unique topography, its ceremonial spaces, and how life was experienced in the Venetian Republic. The trip will include visits to archives and museums.

Read the University homepage feature

Wendy Heller

A Magic grant will support the creation of a piece of original music to be performed at the inauguration of the new Lewis Center for the Arts.

Journalism Initiative

The Princeton Journalism Initiative will function as a laboratory and incubator for path-breaking ventures aimed at expanding news literacy among citizens, increasing the amount and quality of accountability journalism, and exploring new models for funding serious, impactful journalism.

Shakespeare and Company lending library
Joshua Kotin (English)

This Magic grant will support the hiring of graduate students to recreate the Shakespeare and Company lending library. Sylvia Beach opened Shakespeare and Company in Paris in 1919, and closed its doors to the public in 1941, during the Nazi occupation of France. Princeton’s Firestone Library holds Beach’s papers, which document the lending library’s inventory as well as its growth.

The Intellectual Lives of Hugo Grotius
Russ Leo (English)

Magic funds support the conference “The Intellectual Lives of Hugo Grotius.” Drawing together scholars of philosophy, political theory, theology and literature, this conference aims to explore Grotius’ various projects and to place his work in conversation with contemporaries at a crucial transitional moment in European intellectual history.

Recovering the Archive of the World’s Earliest Voice Mail (1905-­‐1907)
Thomas Levin (German)
Adam Finkelstein (Computer Science)

Magic grants funds a two-year project Recovering the Archive of the World’s Earliest Voice Mail (1905-­‐1907), a new project aims to finally read a long lost chapter of media history, postcards known as Sonorines.

Read the University homepage feature

Sarajevo Chamber Music Festival
Anna Lim (Music)

This Magic grant will fund the travel for an undergraduate string quartet to participate in the Sarajevo Chamber Music Festival, workshops, master classes and concerts in Sarajevo and nearby cities in August 2017.

Read the Council homepage story

The Analysing Engine
Andrew Lovett (Music)

A Magic grant will fund the performance of a new comic-opera, The Analysing Engine by Andrew Lovett, and a one-day conference examining the state of small-scale opera.

L’Avant-Scène
Florent Masse (French and Italian)

This Magic grant will offer students the chance to travel to and explore new territories in Asia supporting a new enriching L’Avant-Scène international program to Japan next fall break 2017.

Surrealism: From France to the World
Efthymia Rentzou (French and Italian)

Magic funds support an international conference, Surrealism: From France to the World that will be held at Princeton University in March 2018, unifying the scholarly field of Surrealism studies in the arts and humanities, beginning with Anglo-American and French academia.

Jamie Reuland (Music)

Magic funds will support the redesign of Music 270 course into music performance and music history course.

The Princeton & Slavery Project
Marni Sandweiss (History)

Magic grants will support the launch of The Princeton & Slavery Project, bringing scholarly humanistic research to a broad public on the campus and beyond.

Read about the project on University homepage feature and in The New York Times

Eighth Blackbird
Dan Trueman
(Music) and Paul Muldoon (Lewis Center for the Arts)

Magic funds will support an eight-day residency of Eighth Blackbird, a Grammy award-winning contemporary music ensemble in February 2018.

Read more on the Music homepage

Religion and the American Normal
Judith Weisenfeld (Religion)

Magic funds will support the Religion and the American Normal conference, exploring the intersections of religion and constructions of the normal in twentieth and twenty-first-century American life.

Multi-year projects in the final year

Beyond Bollywood
Zahid Chaudhary (English)

Zahid Chaudhary was awarded a Magic grant to support guest speakers and activities related to a new course, “Beyond Bollywood.” The course focuses on the cinema’s global reach, visual pleasure, mix of traditions and genres, relationship to the popular and to “third cinema,” and its checkered history across decolonization, the cold war, globalization, and the age of terror.

Read about the 2019-20 Magic Projects

Humanities Council Logo
Italian Studies Logo
American Studies Logo
Humanistic Studies Logo
Ancient World Logo
Canadian Studies Logo
ESC Logo
Journalism Logo
Linguistics Logo
Medieval Studies Logo
Renaissance Logo
Film Studies Logo