Four SoA faculty awarded Magic Grants from the Princeton Humanities Council: Erin Besler, S. E. Eisterer, Guy Nordenson, Spyros Papapetros


Congratulations to professors Erin Besler, S. E. Eisterer, Guy Nordenson, and Spyros Papapetros who received 2022-2023 Magic Grants from the Princeton University Humanities Council. This year, the Council awarded 27 new grants for innovation and collaboration, led by 41 faculty from across 25 academic departments and programs. 


The four faculty Magic Grants award projects include:



Beyond Provenance: What Information Doesn’t Tell Us

Erin Besler


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.


Queer Spaces in the World, Concepts and Methods

S. E. Eisterer


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.


The Building and Ecology of the Ise Shrines

Guy Nordenson


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


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.