Director's Note


For 25 years, the Princeton Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts has fostered the growth of extraordinary early career scholars. We come together as a community, postdoctoral fellows, faculty fellows and Old Dominion Research Professors, to share work and develop projects in conversations across disciplinary boundaries. The opportunities for dialogue, new questions, and new lines of inquiry that the weekly seminars and informal discussions afford push the fellows towards more ambitious and expansive formulations of their ideas. In the same spirit of sharing new ideas and approaches, the fellows teach courses based on their research and often co-teach with others on the Princeton faculty, advise and mentor students, participate in colloquia, workshops and reading groups.

The Friday seminars are at the heart of what we do and have their own traditions and rituals: the ringing of the bell to call the room to order, the rush to ask a question, the special green pencils given by former fellows that indicate a follow-up question. We keep the room free of distractions so pervasive today: No devices are allowed to interrupt the hour-and-a-half stretch devoted entirely to presentation and discussion of a presenter’s ideas. Perhaps there is some magic to our special bell: the seminar discussions are remarkable examples of intense engagement and commitment to intellectual openness and collaboration.

As we prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Society’s founding in 2024, we are grateful to the founders for creating this interdisciplinary space that allows the fellows and faculty to learn from each other, make intellectual connections, and take their research in new and exciting directions.

Yelena Baraz

Director, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts
Kennedy Foundation Professor of Latin Language and Literature