Seminars and Working Groups

The Humanities Council hosts a variety of seminars and conversations, which are announced on this site and on the Humanities Council Calendar. The Council also provides support to groups of faculty who wish to convene for ongoing discussion around a common theme or topic.

Grants are designed to help defray the costs involved in such sessions, including refreshments and clerical assistance. Colleagues who wish to constitute such groups are invited to contact Kathleen Crown, executive director of the Council of the Humanities.

Faculty “Works in Progress” and Book Talks

The Humanities Council will host a new series of faculty lunch talks for the fall—either “works in progress” or published “book talks”—which offer an opportunity for humanities faculty to hear about the work of their colleagues in other disciplines. All events will be held at the Joseph Henry House from 12–1:20 p.m.  Lunch will be provided. Open to faculty, fellows and doctoral students. Space is limited. RSVP to Jeannine Pitarresi.

Fall 2016 Seminars

Work in Progress
Marni Sandweiss, History
The Princeton and Slavery Project: Bulletins from the Front

Book Talk
Tim Leonard, Economics and Humanities Council
Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era

Work in Progress
Clair Wills, English and Irish Studies
‘White Strangers’: Writing an Immigrant History of Post-War Britain

Past Faculty Seminars

Historical Linguistics | Timothy Barnes and Joshua Katz (Classics)

This series of seminars convened faculty for an introduction to historical and comparative linguistics, with an emphasis on the older languages and cultures of the family to which English belongs: Indo-European. The first meeting gave an overview of historical/comparative linguistics and Indo-European studies, explaining how the fields developed and how they are practiced now; the second and third meetings presented a few in-depth case studies.

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Legal Cases | Hosted by Peter Brooks, Professor of Comparative Literature

Faculty seminars with Kim Lane Scheppele, Director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs, in a discussion of the 2005 Aircraft Security Case from Germany; Charles Fried of Harvard Law School, U.S. Solicitor General under President Reagan, 1985-89; and Dirk Hartog, Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty and Director of the American Studies Program, on slavery and arson in Long Branch, New Jersey.


Behrman Faculty Fellows

Wendy Belcher is an associate professor of African literature

Wendy Belcher is an associate professor of African literature

Princeton faculty promoted to tenure in the humanities are invited to spend two years as Behrman Fellows. The program is designed to recognize exceptional humanists as they enter the ranks of the senior faculty and to provide a forum for conversation and collaboration across disciplines. Fellows receive summer support and come together monthly for lunch-time seminars.

Behrman Fellows for 2016-17

Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows

Juniors and seniors who are committed to the study of humanistic inquiry meet formally once a month during term to discuss and debate matters of common interest in the company of a few members of the faculty and distinguished guests. Additional events are scheduled throughout the year.

2016-2018 Director: Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor in Philosophy
Associate Director: Elaine Ayers (History of Science)

Meet the 2016-17 members

Guests have included:

  • President Shirley Tilghman
  • Professor Bill Bialek (Physics)
  • Professor Michael Cook (Near Eastern Studies)
  • Professor Rubén Gallo (Spanish & Portuguese Languages and Cultures)
  • Professor Bill Gleason (English)
  • Professor Constanze Güthenke (Classics and Hellenic Studies)
  • Professor Maria DiBattista (English and Comparative Literature)
  • Professor Ann Blair (History, Harvard University)
  • Professor Thomas Laqueur (History, University of California at Berkeley)
How to Apply

Students apply in the spring of their sophomore or junior years for membership in the following year. (Applications for 2016-17 are now closed.)



Interdisciplinary Reading Groups


The Council supports a range of discussion groups and workshops. Past initiatives have included the “Classical Literature Workshop” and the “Avant-Garde Workshop.” The Interdisciplinary PhD Program in the Humanities hosts a number of graduate-initiated reading groups.

Current groups are forming in Comparative Antiquity, Textuality and Reading Practices, and Medical Humanities.

Faculty and graduate students who wish to constitute such groups are invited to contact Kathleen Crown,, executive director of the Council of the Humanities, with a proposal.

For more information on funding and logistical support for reading and discussion groups, please get in touch with Council staff.

Reading, Discussion, and Working Groups

Digital Humanities Reading Group

All are invited to attend this interdisciplinary gathering of Princeton faculty, students, librarians, curators and technologists, who range from DH experts to newcomers to the field.

Criminal Justice Working Group

The Program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA) at Princeton University and the Criminal Justice Program at Rutgers-New Brunswick bring together faculty and graduate students from both institutions to share work-in-progress, new ideas, and recent papers.

Working Group on Inclusive Teaching and Learning

Our mission is to broaden and diversify participation in the academic life of the University by advancing strategies for interactive teaching and supporting the academic success of all students.

Graduate-Initiated Reading Groups

Inventory: Literary Translation Project

The group seeks to examine the art and practice of literary translation through collaborative workshops and through the publication of an annual journal.

Theory Reading Group

In this workshop, theoretical texts will be chosen based on their interdisciplinary content and their immediate relevance to the present, within but also beyond the academy.

Contemporary Poetry Colloquium

The Graduate Colloquium on Contemporary Poetry brings together practicing poets and scholars from Princeton and beyond in a series of events aimed at exploring poetry in the present moment.

Intersections Working Group

Intersections is a working group committed to promoting the interdisciplinary study of race, gender, class and sexuality in literature and cultural studies.

Psychoanalysis Reading Group

This is a forum where graduate students and faculty can gather to discuss recent research in the context of the history of analysis, as theory and practice.

Readings in Capitalism and History

At RICH seminars, graduate students have begun to define a global, interdisciplinary vision of the ‘History of Capitalism.’

Reception of Ancient Philosophy

We welcome the participation of philosophers, classicists, historians, Syriacists, Arabists, Hebraists, medievalists, early modernists, and anyone interested in the history of thought—students and faculty.

Decoloniality Graduate Reading Group

This discussion group reads hermeneutically along contemporary ethnographical, anthropological, and theological traditions.

Reading Group of Biographical Writing in Early China

This interdisciplinary project focuses on fundamental questions related to life writing in antiquity (ca. 1000 BCE-220 AD).