Public Humanities

About the Humanities@PPL Initiative

MISSION

Humanities@PPL promotes critical thinking, civic engagement, and an inclusive understanding of our world through community collaboration, dynamic programs, and professional resources.

GOALS

Humanities@PPL will:

  • Build meaningful, sustained relationships with diverse community partners through deliberate engagement.
  • Increase awareness of how the humanities can improve our quality of life and advance an inclusive democracy.
  • Use the library’s role as a hub to disseminate resources in the field and amplify the humanities work of others.
  • Enhance the presence of humanities in the library’s collection, focusing on investments that support programming and align with local, national, and international conversations.

Support from the National Endowment for the Humanities

The Humanities@PPL Initiative takes its impetus from a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant awarded to the library in 2007. This award contributed to the creation of a Princeton Public Library Endowment for the Humanities, the goal of which was described in the grant application as follows:

“In an effort to establish itself as a pre-eminent center for Humanities programming and resources in the central New Jersey area, Princeton Public Library seeks to create, promote and sustain a dynamic Humanities program that fosters community collaboration and increases exposure to the Humanities.”

Objectives were identified as outcomes associated with this goal, including the following:

  • Creating and sustaining a new role for a Public Humanities Specialist.
  • Developing and sustaining public programs in the humanities.
  • Cultivating relationships with community partners and stakeholders in the humanities.
  • Enhancing the library’s humanities collections.
  • Increasing community awareness of the library’s programs and resources related to the humanities.
  • Creating a PPL Humanities Council to assess impact and to provide perspective.
  • Providing advisory support to promote humanities programming within public libraries.

Humanities@PPL programs are presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Annual Public Humanities Forum

The signature event of the Humanities@PPL Initiative is the annual Public Humanities Forum. A pilot was organized by the Adult Programming Department in December, 2022; a second event, establishing this program as a yearly tradition, followed in December, 2023. The annual Public Humanities Forum brings the expertise of scholars and professionals into conversation with engaged citizens so that the tribunal of public reason may exercise itself upon the challenge of these experts’ work. This nascent tradition enjoys the support of partnerships with Princeton University‘s SPIA in NJ Initiative, Princeton University’s Humanities Council, and Labyrinth Books, among many other community partners. Check out the panels and keynote lecture from the 2023 Public Humanities Forum on Journalism and Democracy below:

This recording is presented in partnership by Princeton Public Library and the SPIA in NJ Initiative of Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs, the Princeton University Humanities Council, the Princeton University Program in Journalism, and Labyrinth Books. The 2023 Public Humanities Forum explores the relationship between democracy and journalism and discusses the history of democracy, active citizenship and participatory journalism through two panel discussions and a public lecture. 

Dan-El Padilla Peralta is an Associate Professor of Classics in the Department of Classics at Princeton University. He is the author of two books: Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League (Penguin 2015) and Divine Institutions: Religions and Community in the Middle Roman Republic (Princeton 2020) and he has co-edited two others: Rome, Empire of Plunder: The Dynamics of Cultural Appropriation (with Matthew Loar and Carolyn MacDonald; Cambridge 2017); and Making the Middle Republic: New Approaches to Rome and Italy, c. 400 – 200 BCE (with Seth Bernard and Lisa Mignone; Cambridge 2023). In addition he is a volume editor for the Cambridge History of the African Diaspora. Projects in the works include Classicism and Other Phobias, a manuscript emerging from the 2022 W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures; 338 BCE: Rome and the Age of Empires, co-authored with Denis Feeney (under contract with Harvard University Press); A People’s History of Rome (under contract with Princeton University Press); and a manifesto on race and racism within the disciplinary identity of classics, co-authored with Sasha-Mae Eccleston.

Rachel Devlin is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University specializing in the cultural politics of girlhood, sexuality, and race in the postwar United States. She is the author of Relative Intimacy: Fathers, Adolescent Daughters, and Postwar American Culture (2005). In her most recent book, A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America's Schools (2018), Devlin draws on interviews and archival research to tell the stories of the many young women who stood up to enraged protestors, hostile teachers, and hateful white students every day while integrating classrooms. Among them were Lucile Bluford, who fought to desegregate the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism before World War II, and Marguerite Carr and Doris Faye Jennings, who as teenagers became the public faces of desegregation years before Brown v. Board of Education. Devlin has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History (Harvard University), and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute (Harvard University).

Stanley Katz is President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies, the national humanities organization in the United States. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1955 with a major in English History and Literature. He was trained in British and American history at Harvard (PhD, 1961), where he also attended Law School in 1969-70. His recent research focuses upon developments in American philanthropy, the relationship of civil society and constitutionalism to democracy, and the relationship of the United States to the international human rights regime. He is the Editor in Chief of the recently published Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History, and the Editor Emeritus of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the United States Supreme Court. He also writes about higher education policy, and has published a blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education. He is the co-founder and editor of the history of philanthropy blog www.histphil.org. Formerly Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor of the History of American Law and Liberty at Princeton University, he is a specialist on American legal and constitutional history, and on philanthropy and non-profit institutions. He received the annual Fellows Award from Phi Beta Kappa in 2010 and the National Humanities Medal (awarded by Pres. Obama) in 2011.

Moderator:

Christopher Fisher is an Associate Professor of History at the College of New Jersey. He earned his BA from Rutgers College and his Ph.D. in history, with a focus on U.S. diplomacy, from Rutgers University in 2001. His areas of expertise are the U.S. in the twentieth century, cold war culture and diplomacy, US in the World, American empire and imperialism, African-American history, and Racism and Race Relations in the US. With Alan Dawley and Robert C. McGreevey, he is the co-author of Global America, The United States in the Twentieth Century (Oxford, 2018).

Presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This event was recorded on December 2, 2023.

This recording is presented in partnership by Princeton Public Library and the SPIA in NJ Initiative of Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs, the Princeton University Humanities Council, the Princeton University Program in Journalism, and Labyrinth Books. The 2023 Public Humanities Forum explores the relationship between democracy and journalism and discusses the history of democracy, active citizenship and participatory journalism through two panel discussions and a public lecture.

Dan-El Padilla Peralta is an Associate Professor of Classics in the Department of Classics at Princeton University. He is the author of two books: Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League (Penguin 2015) and Divine Institutions: Religions and Community in the Middle Roman Republic (Princeton 2020) and he has co-edited two others: Rome, Empire of Plunder: The Dynamics of Cultural Appropriation (with Matthew Loar and Carolyn MacDonald; Cambridge 2017); and Making the Middle Republic: New Approaches to Rome and Italy, c. 400 – 200 BCE (with Seth Bernard and Lisa Mignone; Cambridge 2023). In addition he is a volume editor for the Cambridge History of the African Diaspora. Projects in the works include Classicism and Other Phobias, a manuscript emerging from the 2022 W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures; 338 BCE: Rome and the Age of Empires, co-authored with Denis Feeney (under contract with Harvard University Press); A People’s History of Rome (under contract with Princeton University Press); and a manifesto on race and racism within the disciplinary identity of classics, co-authored with Sasha-Mae Eccleston.

Rachel Devlin is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University specializing in the cultural politics of girlhood, sexuality, and race in the postwar United States. She is the author of Relative Intimacy: Fathers, Adolescent Daughters, and Postwar American Culture (2005). In her most recent book, A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America's Schools (2018), Devlin draws on interviews and archival research to tell the stories of the many young women who stood up to enraged protestors, hostile teachers, and hateful white students every day while integrating classrooms. Among them were Lucile Bluford, who fought to desegregate the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism before World War II, and Marguerite Carr and Doris Faye Jennings, who as teenagers became the public faces of desegregation years before Brown v. Board of Education. Devlin has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History (Harvard University), and the W.E.B. DuBois Institute (Harvard University).

Stanley Katz is President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies, the national humanities organization in the United States. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1955 with a major in English History and Literature. He was trained in British and American history at Harvard (PhD, 1961), where he also attended Law School in 1969-70. His recent research focuses upon developments in American philanthropy, the relationship of civil society and constitutionalism to democracy, and the relationship of the United States to the international human rights regime. He is the Editor in Chief of the recently published Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History, and the Editor Emeritus of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the United States Supreme Court. He also writes about higher education policy, and has published a blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education. He is the co-founder and editor of the history of philanthropy blog www.histphil.org. Formerly Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor of the History of American Law and Liberty at Princeton University, he is a specialist on American legal and constitutional history, and on philanthropy and non-profit institutions. He received the annual Fellows Award from Phi Beta Kappa in 2010 and the National Humanities Medal (awarded by Pres. Obama) in 2011.

Moderator:

Christopher Fisher is an Associate Professor of History at the College of New Jersey. He earned his BA from Rutgers College and his Ph.D. in history, with a focus on U.S. diplomacy, from Rutgers University in 2001. His areas of expertise are the U.S. in the twentieth century, cold war culture and diplomacy, US in the World, American empire and imperialism, African-American history, and Racism and Race Relations in the US. With Alan Dawley and Robert C. McGreevey, he is the co-author of Global America, The United States in the Twentieth Century (Oxford, 2018).

Presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This event was recorded on December 2, 2023.

YouTube Video 6NXZCREi5vU

Journalism and Democracy: "Democracy, Citizenship, and the Power of the Powerless"

PrincetonPL January 3, 2024 3:33 pm

Presented in partnership by Princeton Public Library and the SPIA in NJ Initiative of Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs, the Princeton University Humanities Council, the Princeton University Program in Journalism, and Labyrinth Books. The 2023 Public Humanities Forum explores the relationship between democracy and journalism and discusses the history of democracy, active citizenship and participatory journalism through two panel discussions and a public lecture. 

Jane Ferguson is a Polk, Emmy, Peabody, OPCA and DuPont award-winning foreign correspondent for PBS NewsHour, contributor to The New Yorker, and McGraw Professor of journalism at Princeton University. Now based in New York City, she has over thirteen years of experience living and reporting in the Middle East and reporting from the Arab world, Africa and South Asia. Her work focuses on US foreign policy and defense, conflict, diplomacy, and human rights. With an emphasis on in-depth, magazine length broadcasting, Jane's reporting is characterized by exclusive, ground-breaking access, thoughtful story-telling and character-driven reporting. Her memoir, No Ordinary Assignment was published by HarperCollins in July 2023.

Tennyson Donyéa, a seasoned journalist, storyteller, and aspiring filmmaker continues to leave his mark on New Jersey's media landscape. A Temple University alumnus, he holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production (2016) and later deepened his journalistic expertise through the Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators program at CUNY Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in 2022. Over the past seven years, Tennyson has extensively reported for various platforms including TV, radio, and both print and digital mediums. His journey has taken him to various states – from California to Maine – but his role at WHYY News in Philadelphia stands out, showcasing his dedication to delivering quality news about New Jersey politics. In 2023, Tennyson's commitment to local journalism was recognized when he received the New Jersey News Commons' Partner of the Year award. This accolade celebrated his significant contributions to bolstering New Jersey's local news ecosystem. Keenly aware of the narratives surrounding New Jersey's Black community, Tennyson took it upon himself to challenge and reshape these perspectives. In 2021, he founded "Black In Jersey" with the aim to provide a more accurate representation of Black communities and address pertinent issues in the fight for Black liberation. Originally hailing from Washington, D.C., Tennyson has called New Jersey home since 2019 and is currently based in Trenton, NJ, where he continues to be a beacon of change in the world of journalism.

Andrew Rodriguez Calderón is a computational journalist at The Marshall Project. He is also an Adjunct Professor at The New School in New York City, where he teaches data, design and community engagement, and additionally works as a Project & Product Designer for the Journalism + Design Lab, an non-profit initiative to develop civic infrastructure through free journalism and design training at community colleges. His work and practice sits at the intersection of collaborative design, product development and journalism engineering. Recently he has been exploring AI and hosting community listening sessions with people and groups affected by book bans in prisons to think about how generative machine learning can help decode complex bureaucracy and empower people often marginalized by systems of power.

Anastasia Mann is a lecturer at Princeton University and the founding director of SPIA in NJ. Her work focuses on struggles for economic rights and racial justice by, for, and with communities on the margins of American society. Trained as a historian, Stacy’s interests include reparations and transitional justice, immigrant organizing, access to quality public services, social welfare and social control, kinship, leisure, and mutual aid. Her work is attuned to the ways that gender, race, class, and ethnicity shape structures of opportunity. Mann’s career spans academia (Northwestern, Princeton, Rutgers), research-driven nonprofits (the Russell Sage Foundation, New Jersey Policy Perspective), and the civic sphere (Princeton’s Human Services and Civil Rights Commissions, and the New Jersey Commission on New Americans). Her publications include contributions to The Encyclopedia of Working Class America (Routledge), Flunking Out: New Jersey’s Support for Public Higher Education Falls Short, Garden State Dreams: In-State Tuition for Undocumented Kids (both New Jersey Policy Perspective), and Middlesex County, New Jersey: Crossroads of the World (Rutgers, Eagleton Institute). 

Presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This event was recorded on December 2, 2023.

Presented in partnership by Princeton Public Library and the SPIA in NJ Initiative of Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs, the Princeton University Humanities Council, the Princeton University Program in Journalism, and Labyrinth Books. The 2023 Public Humanities Forum explores the relationship between democracy and journalism and discusses the history of democracy, active citizenship and participatory journalism through two panel discussions and a public lecture.

Jane Ferguson is a Polk, Emmy, Peabody, OPCA and DuPont award-winning foreign correspondent for PBS NewsHour, contributor to The New Yorker, and McGraw Professor of journalism at Princeton University. Now based in New York City, she has over thirteen years of experience living and reporting in the Middle East and reporting from the Arab world, Africa and South Asia. Her work focuses on US foreign policy and defense, conflict, diplomacy, and human rights. With an emphasis on in-depth, magazine length broadcasting, Jane's reporting is characterized by exclusive, ground-breaking access, thoughtful story-telling and character-driven reporting. Her memoir, No Ordinary Assignment was published by HarperCollins in July 2023.

Tennyson Donyéa, a seasoned journalist, storyteller, and aspiring filmmaker continues to leave his mark on New Jersey's media landscape. A Temple University alumnus, he holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production (2016) and later deepened his journalistic expertise through the Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators program at CUNY Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in 2022. Over the past seven years, Tennyson has extensively reported for various platforms including TV, radio, and both print and digital mediums. His journey has taken him to various states – from California to Maine – but his role at WHYY News in Philadelphia stands out, showcasing his dedication to delivering quality news about New Jersey politics. In 2023, Tennyson's commitment to local journalism was recognized when he received the New Jersey News Commons' Partner of the Year award. This accolade celebrated his significant contributions to bolstering New Jersey's local news ecosystem. Keenly aware of the narratives surrounding New Jersey's Black community, Tennyson took it upon himself to challenge and reshape these perspectives. In 2021, he founded "Black In Jersey" with the aim to provide a more accurate representation of Black communities and address pertinent issues in the fight for Black liberation. Originally hailing from Washington, D.C., Tennyson has called New Jersey home since 2019 and is currently based in Trenton, NJ, where he continues to be a beacon of change in the world of journalism.

Andrew Rodriguez Calderón is a computational journalist at The Marshall Project. He is also an Adjunct Professor at The New School in New York City, where he teaches data, design and community engagement, and additionally works as a Project & Product Designer for the Journalism + Design Lab, an non-profit initiative to develop civic infrastructure through free journalism and design training at community colleges. His work and practice sits at the intersection of collaborative design, product development and journalism engineering. Recently he has been exploring AI and hosting community listening sessions with people and groups affected by book bans in prisons to think about how generative machine learning can help decode complex bureaucracy and empower people often marginalized by systems of power.

Anastasia Mann is a lecturer at Princeton University and the founding director of SPIA in NJ. Her work focuses on struggles for economic rights and racial justice by, for, and with communities on the margins of American society. Trained as a historian, Stacy’s interests include reparations and transitional justice, immigrant organizing, access to quality public services, social welfare and social control, kinship, leisure, and mutual aid. Her work is attuned to the ways that gender, race, class, and ethnicity shape structures of opportunity. Mann’s career spans academia (Northwestern, Princeton, Rutgers), research-driven nonprofits (the Russell Sage Foundation, New Jersey Policy Perspective), and the civic sphere (Princeton’s Human Services and Civil Rights Commissions, and the New Jersey Commission on New Americans). Her publications include contributions to The Encyclopedia of Working Class America (Routledge), Flunking Out: New Jersey’s Support for Public Higher Education Falls Short, Garden State Dreams: In-State Tuition for Undocumented Kids (both New Jersey Policy Perspective), and Middlesex County, New Jersey: Crossroads of the World (Rutgers, Eagleton Institute).

Presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This event was recorded on December 2, 2023.

YouTube Video O6rCVUtJTnI

Journalism and Democracy: "Democratic Societies and Participatory Journalism"

PrincetonPL December 16, 2023 2:04 pm

This recording is presented in partnership by Princeton Public Library and the SPIA in NJ Initiative of Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs, the Princeton University Humanities Council, the Princeton University Program in Journalism, and Labyrinth Books. The 2023 Public Humanities Forum explores the relationship between democracy and journalism and discusses the history of democracy, active citizenship and participatory journalism through two panel discussions and a public lecture. 

Public Lecture: Jan-Werner Müller, "Democracy's Critical Infrastructure"

Keynote Speaker: Jan-Werner Müller is Roger Williams Straus Professor of Social Sciences and professor of Politics at Princeton University. He works mainly in democratic theory and the history of modern political thought; he also has research interests in the relationship between architecture and politics, as well as the normative implications of the current structural transformations of the public sphere. Publications include Constitutional Patriotism (2007), Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth-Century Europe (2011) and What is Populism? (2016), which has been translated into more than 20 languages. 2019 saw the publication of Furcht und Freiheit: Für einen anderen Liberalismus, which won the Bavarian Book Prize; in 2021, Democracy Rules appeared with FSG, Penguin, and Suhrkamp.

Presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This event was recorded on December 2, 2023.

This recording is presented in partnership by Princeton Public Library and the SPIA in NJ Initiative of Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs, the Princeton University Humanities Council, the Princeton University Program in Journalism, and Labyrinth Books. The 2023 Public Humanities Forum explores the relationship between democracy and journalism and discusses the history of democracy, active citizenship and participatory journalism through two panel discussions and a public lecture.

Public Lecture: Jan-Werner Müller, "Democracy's Critical Infrastructure"

Keynote Speaker: Jan-Werner Müller is Roger Williams Straus Professor of Social Sciences and professor of Politics at Princeton University. He works mainly in democratic theory and the history of modern political thought; he also has research interests in the relationship between architecture and politics, as well as the normative implications of the current structural transformations of the public sphere. Publications include Constitutional Patriotism (2007), Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth-Century Europe (2011) and What is Populism? (2016), which has been translated into more than 20 languages. 2019 saw the publication of Furcht und Freiheit: Für einen anderen Liberalismus, which won the Bavarian Book Prize; in 2021, Democracy Rules appeared with FSG, Penguin, and Suhrkamp.

Presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This event was recorded on December 2, 2023.

YouTube Video EbjL10jaiXA

Journalism and Democracy: Public Lecture - Jan-Werner Müller, "Democracy's Critical Infrastructure"

PrincetonPL December 10, 2023 12:24 pm

#NEH Programs

Humanities@PPL Programs

Further Humanities@PPL programs are identified by the NEH logo and a statement of acknowledgement appearing on the events calendar. Humanities@PPL programs may require registration through the events calendar, but they do not require that registrants possess a Princeton Public Library card. Typically Humanities@PPL programs consist of:

  • Panels and discussions;
  • Author talks;
  • Virtual and hybrid scholar-led Book Groups, such as the Historical Fiction Book Group and the Catherine Project Book Group;
  • Workshops and master class series;
  • Film screenings.


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