Introducing the 2019-2020 Princeton Mellon Fellows

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Devanne Brookins, Priti Narayan, Dietmar Offenhuber, Ashlie Sandoval, and Danielle Stewart as Princeton Mellon Fellows for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The fellowships are made possible through the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Princeton Environmental Institute; the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies' Brazil Lab and M.S. Chadha Center for Global India; the Metropolis Project of the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs; the Department of English; and the Program in American Studies. 

In addition to their own research, each fellow will teach a course and contribute to programming related to the Initiative's focus on Cities on the Edge: Hemispheric Comparisons and Connections.

Devanne Brookins, Princeton Mellon Fellow in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities

Devanne Brookins’ work explores urban development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research interests are centered at the intersection of governance, institutions, and inequality in African cities. Her research probes how the development and governance of urban land, service provision, and transport contribute to uneven distributional outcomes.

Brookins’ dissertation explored the process of institutional change of the land sector in urban and peri-urban areas in Ghana, emphasizing the role of informal actors. Prior to her doctoral studies, Brookins worked in international development research and program management with organizations such as The Urban Institute and Oxfam America. She has also consulted for the African Development Bank, UN Habitat in the Urban Land, Legislation and Governance Branch and the African Center for Economic Transformation. In addition to her PhD in International Development Planning from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) at MIT, Devanne holds dual Masters’ degrees from Columbia University in Urban Planning (GSAPP) and International Affairs (SIPA); and a BA in Political Science and French from Wellesley College. Preceding her Princeton fellowship, Brookins was Research Coordinator for the Transforming Urban Transport - The Role of Political Leadership (TUT-POL) Sub-Saharan Africa project at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Brookins’ fellowship is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs.

Priti Narayan, Princeton Mellon / Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies Fellow

Priti Narayan uses ethnographic and archival methods to investigate how residents of Chennai, India make claims to city land in a landscape marked by violent, large-scale slum evictions. Her research project, Terrains of Negotiation: Strategic Residents and the State in a Developing City, explores how the urban poor navigate ‘terrains of negotiation’ among politicians, local bureaucrats, and activists to preserve their citizenship in the city. Her work highlights how historical structures of patronage-based state-society relations interact with neoliberal urbanism.

Narayan has worked as a housing rights activist in Chennai for over seven years. Currently completing her PhD in Geography at Rutgers, Narayan earned an M.A. in Sociology from Columbia University; a PG Dip. in Television Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism; and a B.Sc. in Electronic Media from the University of Madras.

Narayan’s fellowship is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the M.S. Chadha Center for Global India under the Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies.

Dietmar Offenhuber, Princeton Mellon Fellow in Architecture, Urbanism & the Environment

Dietmar Offenhuber’s scholarship focuses on the relationship between design, technology, and governance. His research project, Sensory Accountability – Materializing Pollution in New Jersey’s Industrial Centers investigates the material aspects of environmental data collection and their role in visual evidence construction. Exploring what he terms “sensory accountability,” Offenhuber studies the practices used to visualize the impacts of phenomena such as environmental pollution and climate change. Building on his award-winning book Waste is Information – Infrastructure Legibility and Governance (MIT Press, 2017), this project will critically revisit the concept of urban legibility in the contemporary city, and expand it to environmental, justice, and governance issues. 
Offenhuber holds a PhD in Urban Planning from MIT, a MS in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab, and a Dipl. Ing. in Architecture from the Technical University Vienna. During his fellowship at Princeton he will be on leave as Associate Professor at Northeastern University in the departments of Art + Design and Public Policy. 
Offenhuber’s fellowship is made possible through the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Metropolis Project of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton.

Ashlie Sandoval, Princeton Mellon Fellow in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities

Ashlie Sandoval’s research interests involve performance, Marxist, architectural, and feminist theory, as well as critical ethnic studies. Sandoval’s research project, Designing Work, Performing Architecture, examines how experiences of built-space influence how we interpret and respond to the evolving labor conditions within racial capitalism. This research examines the various ways architecture has lent itself to processes of racialization, from phenomenological experiences of race within the built environment to urban development’s creation of racial landscapes. Sandoval’s research and teaching combine architectural theory with performance studies, exploring architectural design’s influence on race through discursive and visual representations of architecture and bodily engagements with design.  

Sandoval is completing her PhD in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, and previously earned an MA from the University of Cincinnati in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and a BA from San Francisco State University in Japanese and Political Science.

Sandoval’s fellowship is made possible through the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Program in American Studies and the Department of English.

Danielle Stewart, Princeton Mellon / Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies Fellow

Danielle Stewart is an art historian whose research centers on Modern photography and the visual culture of mid-century Brazil. Her work investigates the capacity of mass distributed artistic, documentary, journalistic, and advertising photographs to shape urban spaces and construct urban imaginaries. At Princeton, Danielle will revise her dissertation, Framing the City: Photography and the Construction of São Paulo, 1930-1955, into a book manuscript that analyzes how photographs of mid-twentieth century São Paulo helped to forge the city’s identity as a modernized, industrial metropolis. 

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, educated in Utah, and a resident of Harlem, Danielle has also lived in Curitiba, Brazil. This wide range of American cityscapes fundamentally informs Danielle’s research. Danielle completed her MPhil and PhD in Art History at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and her BA and MA degrees at Brigham Young University. She has presented her research at numerous venues including conferences hosted by the Universidade de São Paulo, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, the College Art Association, and the Latin American Studies Association. Her work has appeared in publications by the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, the Instituto Moreira Salles, the Fundación Cisneros, and H-ART (Universidad de los Andes). Danielle has also taught courses on Latin American art and photography at Hostos College, Brooklyn College, Lehman College, and The Cooper Union. 

Stewart’s fellowship is made possible through the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies’ Brazil Lab.