Spring 2023 Mellon Forum: Spatial Storytelling // February 27 with Ralph Ghoche, Babak Manouchehrifar and Greg Valdespino

Christianizing Algiers: Reshaping Urban Identity by “Cross and Plow” 
Feb 27, 2023, 12:00 pm1:30 pm
School of Architecture and Zoom


Event Description


Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment

Spring 2023 || Spatial Storytelling

Christianizing Algiers: Reshaping Urban Identity by “Cross and Plow” 


Ralph Ghoche, Assistant Professor Department of Architecture, Barnard College

Babak Manouchehrifar, Stewart Fellow in the Council of the Humanities and Princeton-Mellon Fellow

Gregory Valdespino, Princeton-Mellon / Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies Fellow

This is a hybrid event. Click the below link to register in advance for this Zoom webinar:


The presentation will center on the territorial interventions of the Catholic Church in Algiers in the 19th century, examining how the Church reshaped urban space in Algiers through the construction and conversion of buildings in order to advance its aim of resurrecting Augustinian Christendom in North Africa. The larger project from which this presentation is derived seeks to uncover the complex relationship between the church and the multiple actors who helped reconfigure Algiers into a French and largely Christian city. It is structured around three urban practices: the conversion of Muslim institutions, the consolidation of urban focal points as symbolic cynosures of Christian power, and the aesthetic and symbolic expression of the buildings themselves and the hidden forms of violence perpetuated by these material forms of representation.

The Spring 2023 Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment is kindly sponsored by the Mellon Foundation and the Princeton University Humanities Council, Program in Latin American Studies, Center for Collaborative History, Departments of Art & Archaeology and English, HMEI, PIIRS, SPIA, and the School of Architecture.

Mellon Forum events are free and open to the public. Boxed lunches are available while supplies last.