Princeton Mellon Initiative Announces 2020/2021 Fellows

Meet the 2020/2021 Mellon Fellows


Originally published on the Princeton Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities website.



The Princeton Mellon Initiative is pleased to announce the appointments of Devanne Brookins, Shoshana Goldstein, Sophie Hochhäusl, Adrián Lerner Patrón, Dietmar Offenhuber, and Halimat Somotan as Princeton Mellon Fellows during the 2020-2021 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; the M.S. Chadha Center for Global India; the Princeton African Humanities Colloquium; the Metropolis Project; and the Princeton School of Public & International Affairs.   


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 / Princeton School of Public and International Affairs Fellow


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. This Fall, Brookins will teach "Topics in Policy Analysis: Urban Inequality in the Global South," which examines the emergence and persistence of urban poverty and inequality, focusing on the governance of urban development in the Global South. 


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 Ph.D. 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 B.A. 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 was extended to a second year, with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Princeton School of Public & International Affairs. 





Shoshana Goldstein, Princeton Mellon / Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies Fellow


Shoshana Goldstein’s research explores histories of urban planning, governance, and placemaking in Northern India, specifically questions surrounding the impacts of real estate development, public-private partnerships, environmental activism, and internal migration on rural-urban transitions. Her current project charts the complex planning history and social construction of place among migrant communities in Delhi’s satellite city, Gurgaon.


Goldstein holds a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from Cornell and an M.A. in international affairs from The New School, with a focus on the comparative urban development experiences of India and China. She has taught courses on migration, infrastructure and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Cornell’s College of Architecture Art and Planning. Prior to earning her doctorate, Goldstein worked for the India China Institute and as a consultant for the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and UNICEF.


In the Spring semester, Goldstein will teach "South Asian Migrations in Global Context," a study of urban migration, including its diverse forms, causes, and challenges, as well as its cultural, political, economic, and spatial implications for social organization and city planning. 


Shoshana’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.





Sophie Hochhäusl, Princeton Mellon Fellow in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities


Sophie Hochhäusl is an Assistant Professor for Architectural History and Theory at the University of Pennsylvania and an affiliated faculty member in the program in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Before joining the Weitzman School of Design she was the Frieda L. Miller Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. 


In the Spring, Sophie will teach "Living Room: Gender, Difference, and Dissent," a seminar analyzing architectural and urban writing through the lens of queer, feminist, and trans theory, focusing on networks of people in the production of space who have organized around issues of gender. 


Hochhäusl is interested in discourse on collectivity, dissent, and difference in architecture. Her scholarly work centers on modern architecture and urban culture in Austria, Germany, and the United States with a focus on spatial histories of dissidence and resistance art, labor theory and environmental history, as well as intersectional feminism and gender studies. At Princeton, Sophie is working on two book projects: the interdisciplinary history and translation project Memories of the Resistance: Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky and the Architecture of Collective Dissidence, 1918–1989 and the monograph Housing Cooperative: Politics and Architecture in Vienna, 1904–1934.


Hochhäusl holds an M.Arch. from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University in History of Architecture and Urbanism.


Sophie’s fellowship is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.





Adrián Lerner Patrón, Princeton Mellon Fellow in Urbanism & the Environment


Adrián Lerner Patrón is a scholar of Latin American, environmental, and urban history, and of the history of science and technology. This Fall semester, Lerner Patrón and Mario Gandelsonas will co-teach "Interdisciplinary Design Studio" [ARC 205/URB 205/LAS 225/ENV 205], focusing on the social forces that shape design thinking.


At Princeton, he will work on his manuscript, Jungle Cities: The Urbanization of Amazonia, a comparative history of the largest cities of the Amazon rainforest: Manaus, Brazil, and Iquitos, Perú. Jungle Cities explores the long-term links between urban and environmental inequalities and political authoritarianism as the Amazon, a region often treated as a “wilderness,” became predominantly urban. He will also work on a series of articles based on his extensive research in local archives in the Brazilian and Perúvian Amazon, and on the global history of urban informal neighborhoods located in waterlogged areas.


Born and raised in Lima, Perú, Adrián completed his B.A. and Licenciatura at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and his M.A. and Ph.D. at Yale University, where he was also part of the first cohort of the Mellon Interdisciplinary Concentration in the Humanities, focused on “The Technologies of Knowledge.” He has taught courses about Latin America, environmental history, urban planning, and global history.


Adrián’s fellowship is made possible through the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Princeton Environmental Institute.  





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


Dietmar Offenhuber came to Princeton in the Spring semester, in which he taught ARC 524, "Making Legible: Environmental Sensing and the Politics of Measurement," a seminar providing a framework for the production, use, and critique of environmental data. He is the co-organizer, with Anu Ramiswami, of the Fall 2020 Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment, exploring the post-pandemic city. 


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 Ph.D. in Urban Planning from MIT, a M.S. 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. 


This fellowship is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Princeton Environmental Institute, and the Metropolis Project of the School of Engineering & Applied Science. 





Halimat Somotan, Princeton Mellon / Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies Fellow  


Halimat Somotan is a social historian, researching how urban dwellers influenced the politics of decolonization and the transformation of municipal institutions in Nigeria. She recently completed her doctoral degree in African History from Columbia University. In the Spring semester, Halimat will teach "Making Home in African Cities: History of Housing,1800 to the Present," inviting students to explore the struggles for housing in African cities from the nineteenth century to the contemporary period. 


Her dissertation “In the Wider Interests of Nigeria: Lagos and the Making of Federal Nigeria, 1941-76” examines how landlords, tenants, and female traders’ organizations contested planning policies in Lagos during and after Nigeria’s transition from colonial to independent rule. Drawing from letters to newspaper editors, petitions, municipal and planners’ correspondences, novels, Yoruba songs, and oral interviews, “In the Wider Interests of Nigeria” excavates the intellectual perspectives and political campaigns mounted by ordinary Lagosians to alter the state’s rent control, ‘slum clearance’ and anti-street trading laws. It argues that Lagosians’ competing interests influenced their decisions to support, reject, and request the amendment of the town planners’ policies. Lagosians’ participation in the remodeling of the city challenged and entrenched the state’s interests at the same time.


Somotan’s work has been supported by the CLIR-Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources and the University of Virginia’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African and African-American Studies Predoctoral Fellowship, among others.


Halimat’s fellowship is made possible by the Princeton African Humanities Colloquium and the Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies.