Council of the Humanities

Academic Unit

Program Information

The Council of the Humanities was established in 1953 by the trustees and faculty of the University for the purpose of fostering significant teaching and research in the humanities. In all of its endeavors the council aims to encourage cooperation among departments, both within the humanities and across the University; to foster interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship; to focus attention on the core concerns of humanistic scholarship; and to forge enduring links between the humanities at Princeton and the wider culture.

Membership in the Council of the Humanities is open to chairs and directors of all humanities departments, programs, and committees; the dean of the School of Architecture; the dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the director of the Lewis Center for the Arts; and one representative each from the natural and social sciences. This group meets periodically to discuss matters affecting the humanities at Princeton and to advise the chair, the deans, and the president on policy issues.

The ongoing programs of the council are overseen by an executive committee consisting of members of the faculty appointed by the dean of the faculty and representing a broad spectrum of the council's activities. These activities include a program of visiting fellows--distinguished scholars from around the world who spend a period of time in residence in Princeton participating in the life of the University; the Old Dominion Professors, a small group of faculty members in the humanities and the humanistic social sciences who devote a year to intensive research and discussion; the Behrman Professors who dedicate three years to teaching in the Humanistic Studies Program; the Old Dominion Faculty Fellows, members of the faculty from all four divisions who come together for monthly seminars; and the Behrman Fellows, associate professors who meet regularly for discussion. The council serves as a forum for a number of interdepartmental programs and committees, including American Studies, the Program in the Ancient World, Canadian Studies, Classical Philosophy, Digital Humanities, the East Asian Studies Program, European Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Hellenic Studies, the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM), the Program in Humanistic Studies, Irish Studies, Italian Studies, Judaic Studies, Latin American Studies, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Near Eastern StudiesPolitical Philosophy, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, the Study of Late Antiquity, and the University Center for Human Values. The council sponsors the Belknap Visitors in the Humanities, the Eberhard L. Faber IV Lectures, the Gauss Seminars in Criticism, the Stewart Seminars in Religion, and a series of faculty seminars taught by visiting fellows and other scholars. The Edmund N. Carpenter II Class of 1943 Chair in the Humanities brings a senior scholar to Princeton on a permanent shared appointment between a department and the council. The Council of the Humanities is also home to the Princeton Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, in which postdoctoral fellows spend three years on campus, teaching and pursuing research.

The Council of the Humanities oversees the Ferris Professorship of Journalism, the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Seminar in Writing and Publishing, and the Robbins Seminar in Writing, under whose auspices distinguished journalists and nonfiction writers teach undergraduate seminars each year. The council also sponsors interdisciplinary courses under the aegis of the Program in Humanistic Studies. For information about these HUM and JRN courses, see the description under the Program in Humanistic Studies.

Committee for the Fund for Canadian Studies. Established through the generous support of Princeton's Canadian alumni and the government of Canada to encourage and support expanded teaching and research on Canada at Princeton University, the Fund for Canadian Studies is administered by an advisory committee of interested faculty members under the auspices of the Council of the Humanities.

The fund serves as a resource for Canada-focused academic activities, such as the development of new courses (including those of an interdisciplinary and comparative nature), individual research projects, conferences, guest lecturers, and speaker and seminar series.

Advisory Committee for Canadian Studies: Jeremy Adelman, History; Gary Bass, Woodrow Wilson School; Janet Currie, Economics; Eric S. Gregory, Religion and Council of the Humanities; Simon A. Morrison, Music, director; Alan Patten, Politics; James M. Stone, Astrophysical Sciences; Shirley Tilghman, Molecular Biology; Barabara A. White, Music.

Committee for the Fund for Irish Studies. The Fund for Irish Studies affords all Princeton students, and the community at large, a wider and deeper sense of the languages, literatures, drama, visual arts, history, politics, and economics not only of Ireland but of "Ireland in the world." The mission is twofold: to rationalize and expand existing courses taught by current members of the faculty, and to offer a series of public lectures, literary readings, conferences, exhibitions, screenings, and theatrical performances.

Advisory Committee for the Fund for Irish Studies: Michael Cadden, Theater, Lewis Center for the Arts; Linda Colley, History; Maria DiBattista, English and Comparative Literature; Eric S. Gregory, Religion and Council of the Humanities; Philip Pettit, Politics and University Center for Human Values; R. Sean Wilentz, History; Clair Wills, English, chair.