Specialization: History and Theory
Advisor: Robert Fishman
Dissertation Committee: Robert Fishman, Tatjana Aleksić, Andrew Herscher, and Vladimir Kulić
Maja Babić focuses on the intersection of architecture and politics during the Cold War period, in the region of former Yugoslavia. She studies the intertwined nature of architectural production and political events that took place in a socialist country ‘balancing’ the Iron Curtain, torn between the East and West, in the second half of the twentieth century. In her dissertation, she will analyze the reconstruction projects and processes in the Macedonian city of Skopje that took place throughout the 1960s and 1970s. A city shattered by a catastrophic earthquake in 1963 proved to be a unique testing tool for both the architectural and political collaborations, and allowed for an international cooperation of participants on both sides of the Cold War divide. In her research, Maja examines both the architectural designs and urban plans for the city, and specifically focuses on the human aspect of the story.
Recently, Maja co-chaired a session “Politics of Transformation and Continuity” at the 2017 SAH Annual International Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. This followed her own presentation at the Graduate Student Lightning Talks in Pasadena, CA in 2016 where she presented a short paper, “Architecture and Politics in Yugoslav Successor States.” In 2015 in Belgrade at the EAHN conference Maja presented a paper entitled “Postwar Design in Sarajevo and the Effects of Politics and Economy,” and that same year, at the Germanic Languages and Literatures Department graduate student conference at the University of Michigan, she presented a paper titled “Sarajevo City Hall: Politics and Construction of a Postwar Society.”
In 2017 Maja has been the recipient of the Rackham International Research Award and the Jean Monnet Graduate Fellowship. In previous years, she received funding from the Weiser Center for Europe, Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, as well as the Islamic Studies Program at the University of Michigan. She is the recipient of the Floyd A. Naramore Memorial Scholarship and The John Morse Travel Fellowship from the University of Washington.