Anthony Acciavatti

2017-2018 Princeton-Mellon / Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies Fellow

Ph.D, History of Science, Princeton University, 2017
M.Arch, Harvard University, 2009
B. Arch, B.F.A., Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design, 2004


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.