Fall 2023 Mellon Forum // Spaces of Belonging

Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment

A Discussion Series led by the 2023-2024 Princeton-Mellon Fellows


The intellectual core of the Princeton Mellon Initiative, the Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment is an ongoing, flexible colloquium for the discussion and critique of faculty, student and guest speakers' research. 


Wednesday September 13 / 12pm School of Architecture 

Land, Law & Speculative Urban Futures

Sheila Crane, UVA, and Greg Valdespino, Princeton-Mellon / PIIRS Fellow

Urban landscapes described as bidonvilles­­––a Francophone term for shantytown first coined in the late 1920s in Casablanca––have repeatedly been framed as spontaneous, unplanned, or illegal developments, a status that has helped to ensure their broader spatial and social exclusion. However, the histories of many of these sites reveals quite the opposite. Maghrebi property owners and residents repeatedly leveraged the gaps and opportunities written into legal frameworks that instituted the defining distinctions between citizen and subject, civil and customary law, which had ensured territorial dispossession on a vast scale. The canny navigation of co-existing legal regimes facilitated potent strategies of city-building, whether embracing conventions of hospitality, asserting administrative autonomy, or enacting speculative futures.

This is a hybrid event. Attend in person at the School of Architecture, or register for the zoom webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Tuesday September 26 / 12pm School of Architecture

Womanist Work: Black Women Preachers and the Making of Sermonic Space in Literature and Music

Melanie R. Hill, Rutgers, and Wallace Best, Princeton

Monday October 2 / 12pm School of Architecture

‘Faith Shines Equal’ / Airport Sublime

Courtney Bender, Columbia 

Wednesday October 25 / 12pm School of Architecture 

Spaces of Belonging: Three Propositions on the Relationship between
Spatial Settings and Emotional Attachments

Bishwapriya Sanyal, MIT 

Wednesday November 8  / 12pm School of Architecture 

The Cost of Borders 

Heba Gowayed
, Boston University

The Fall 2023 Mellon Forum is sponsored by the Mellon Foundation and the Princeton University Humanities Council, Center for Collaborative History, HMEI, PIIRS, PLAS, SPIA, the Departments of Art & Archaeology and English, and the School of Architecture. 

All events are free and open to the public and box lunches are available while supplies last. Mellon Forum session recordings, when available, are uploaded to the Princeton Mellon Initiative Media Central channel approximately one week after the live event.