Humanities Research

  • Improvised dance embodies complexities of social decisions

    Thursday, Feb 21, 2019
    by Molly Sharlach, Office of Engineering Communications

    A work of art evolves from a series of decisions, as an artist combines brushstrokes, dance steps or musical notes to convey a feeling or idea. When a group of interacting dancers improvises a performance from a repertoire of possible movements, the dynamics of the artistic decisions become even more complex.

  • Project to collect real portraits of American life

    Monday, Feb 4, 2019
    by B. Rose Kelly, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

    Today, only half of children grow up to earn more than their parents, as opportunities for upward mobility continue to decline. Meanwhile, more than 15 percent of children live in poverty.

    Understanding what is behind these problems has been a challenge, as each pocket of the United States faces particular struggles. The American Voices Project will make it possible to take these local differences into account.

  • Treasure in ancient trash: Learning about Japan's history through metals waste

    Friday, Dec 28, 2018
    by Kevin McElwee for the Office of the Dean for Research

    Thomas Conlan fiddled with a strange, brownish-black rock on his desk. For centuries, people had considered the piece of rubble worthless, but it is priceless to Conlan’s research.

    The lumpy rock is a sample of slag, the material left over after heating ore to extract valuable metals. With researchers from art, engineering and materials science, Conlan is exploring whether these discarded scraps can fill gaps in early Japanese history.

  • Hispanics face racial discrimination in New York City’s rental housing market

    Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018
    by B. Rose Kelly, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

    Hispanics make up about one-third of New York City’s population, with many spending half of their income on rent. That is, of course, if they can even find housing at all — in a city suffering from an affordable housing crisis.

    Add to the mix that Hispanics experience significant levels of racial discrimination in the rental housing market, according to a new study. Compared to whites, they are 28 percent less likely to have a landlord return their calls and 49 percent less likely to receive an offer at all.

  • 'Nature's Nation': How American art shaped our environmental perspectives

    Wednesday, Oct 10, 2018
    by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

    When landscape artist Thomas Cole visited New Hampshire's White Mountains in the summer of 1839, he sketched the telling signs of deforestation and human encroachment on a once-pristine wilderness. But his final painting depicted a relatively unspoiled tableau, featuring rich forests and weather-blasted trunks.

    Cole employed a bit of 19th-century photoshopping to edit out signs of development. He dialed up the scenic foliage and blurred the signs of human habitation — houses, barns, roads. His paintings spoke of a world where humans and nature could coexist.

  • Princeton faculty Brangwynne, Sly; arts fellow Okpokwasili awarded MacArthur Fellowships

    Thursday, Oct 4, 2018
    by by Jamie Saxon, Steven Schultz and Molly Sharlach

    Two Princeton professors — one who explores the interior structures of cells, and another who mathematically defines thresholds between shifting, complex systems — have been awarded 2018 MacArthur Fellowships. Choreographer and performer Okwui Okpokwasili, a Hodder Fellow in the Lewis Center for the Arts, also received an award.

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