Aiala Levy

2018-2019 Princeton-Mellon / Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies Fellow

Aiala Levy is a historian whose work explores the relation between urban space and sociabilities at the turn of the twentieth century. In addition to teaching the Fall 2018 Interdisciplinary Design Studio with Princeton Mellon Principal Investigator Mario Gandelsonas, Levy will complete her monograph, Making the Metropolis: Theaters and the Urban Public in São Paulo, Brazil, 1854-1924. The book examines rapidly growing São Paulo, Brazil, to understand the role of the built environment in the formation of a mass society. Levy argues that, as tens of thousands of immigrants and migrants poured into São Paulo around 1900, a wide range of residents used theaters to forge an urban public, that is, a social body reconciled by common tastes, manners, and ideas. By analyzing theater activities, architectural plans, and legislation, her work reveals the significance of the metropolis’ new spaces in enabling different Paulistanos to define social belonging.
Levy’s work in progress stems from her dissertation, which she completed at the University of Chicago in 2016 and which earned the 2017 Dissertation Award from the Latin American Studies Association’s Brazil Section. Levy was the inaugural recipient of the Judith Ewell Prize from the journal The Americas and her work has appeared in Planning PerspectivesIstor, and Oxford Bibliographies. Levy’s research has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Institute of International Education, the Coordinating Council for Women in History, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship.  Levy is currently co-editing Superlative City, a multidisciplinary volume on the crafting of urbanity in São Paulo. While at Princeton, Levy will be on leave as assistant professor at The University of Scranton.
Levy’s fellowship is made possible through funding from the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.