Maria C. Taylor

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

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

Maria Taylor’s fellowship is made possible by the Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies and the Mellon Foundation.

Maria Taylor is a historian and theorist of international urban and landscape design and planning, with regional expertise in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia. Taylor earned her PhD at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), where she received the Distinguished Dissertation in Architecture Award for her 2019 dissertation on Soviet urban environmental design. Prior to that, Taylor earned a Master of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington and a MA in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at Stanford University. Since 2019, Taylor has taught courses in urban environmental history, landscape architecture and urban planning at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Taylor’s work engages broadly with the development, circulation and politicization of environmental knowledge and design praxis in (post)socialist and (post)colonial settings; the complex cultural and geophysical agency of urban ecologies; and comparative histories of environmental art, activism and policies. Taylor’s current book project, Fusing Forest and Factory: The Green Dream of Soviet Civic Engineering, critically explores urban afforestation and ecological design efforts as city-shaping projects of transformation, assessing how the greening of iconic industrial zones, mass housing districts, and civic ensembles shaped the growth of socialist environmental activism.

In the Spring semester she will teach a seminar on “Trees, Toxics, Transformation,” which will consider the 20th-century intersection of politics, plants and town planning, using a range of non-Western case studies to frame the history and future of society-nature relations beyond the Capitalocene.