The 2017-18 Princeton Mellon Fellows

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017

The Princeton Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities at Princeton University is pleased to announce the selection of Anthony Acciavatti, Ateya Khorakiwala and Chad Monfreda as Princeton-Mellon Fellows for the 2017-2018 academic year. 

Anthony Acciavatti studies the architectural, urban, ecological, and socio-economic models of nation building in twentieth century South Asia and North America, including the shifting relationships between the social sciences and engineering. In 2016-17, Anthony was a Post-Graduate Fellow at the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University.

His 2015 book Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India's Ancient River won The John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize from the Foundation for Landscape Studies. The work is a dynamic atlas of the Ganges River basin—the first such comprehensive atlas in half a century—based on a decade of fieldwork and archival research begun as a Fulbright Fellow in 2005. Through text, original drawings, data visualization, and archival images, Acciavetti documents the historical development of hydrological infrastructures and cities and farms across the basin over the last two hundred years, but also the dramatic seasonal transformations the region undergoes every year. Begun at a moment in time when satellite imagery of this region was difficult to come by, Acciavatti crisscrossed the basin by foot, boat, and car, designing new instruments to map soils and devising new methods to map the choreography of temporary cities and the periodicity of the monsoons.

Acciavatti's dissertation "Schools To Satellites: Enlightening And Entertaining Village India, 1947-1976" centers on the creation and dissemination of model villages and cottage industries in the middle decades of the twentieth century. He traces the work of an Indo-American network of architects and scientists working with engineers and villagers who used object lessons and televisual technologies to recruit India’s 558,000 village communities for post-colonial nation building.

In the Fall 2017 Semester, Anthony will co-teach a new Interdisciplinary Design Studio (Architecture/Urban Studies/Environmental Studies 205) with Princeton-Mellon Principal Investigator Mario Gandelsonas (Professor, Architectural Design).

This appointment was made possible through the generous support of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.

Ateya Khorakiwala is an architectural historian who researches the aesthetic, social, and material aspects of post-colonial India’s modernization and decolonization project as well as its attendant efforts to build the Global South. Her doctoral dissertation, which she recently completed at Harvard University, examines the urban and infrastructural transformation of India’s northwest—the Punjab-Delhi region—in the aftermath of the devastating Bengal Famine of 1943 to investigate how technocrats engaged developmental discourse to produce new and transnational expertise around architectural materials like concrete, puzzolana, and steel, and basic commodities like water, wheat, and fertilizer, in the drive to secure the Indian body from starvation.  

Khorakiwala’s research has received various grants and awards including an American Institute for Indian Studies junior fellowship. She is a contributor to the Systems and the South project of the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative and is currently organizing a panel for AAS on Infrastructure's of Agriculture in South Asia. While at Princeton, she is researching “externalities” of modern urban-architectural materials—bitumen, bamboo, and plastic—which are marginal but crucial to cement and steel construction, and the global supply chains that manage them. Ateya will be co-appointed with the Humanities Council at Princeton, whose generous support made this fellowship possible.

Chad Monfreda is an interdisciplinary researcher whose work explores the relationship between the ways people know and govern the global environment. He has published widely in both the physical and social sciences on a range of topics, including global land-use change, the science-policy interface for biodiversity conservation, and the governance of carbon markets. At Princeton, Monfreda’s research investigates the relationship between the environmental imagination and social transformation. This work draws on comparative, historical studies of the social imagination in cities grappling with a changing climate, in order to draw practical and conceptual lessons for the transformation of education, arts-science integration, and the narrative imagination for sustainability in the Anthropocene. Monfreda’s professional experience also extends to policy and practice, including engagements with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) as an Editor and Thematic Expert on Sustainable Energy and writer for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin. Other positions include appointments with the sustainability think tank Redefining Progress, board of the youth-run organization SustainUS, and secretariat of the consultative process towards an International Mechanism for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Chad will be co-appointed with the Climate Futures Initiative. His fellowship is made possible through funding from the Princeton Environmental Institute's Urban Grand Challenge.