Jana Cephas is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Michigan Society of Fellows. Jana studies the effects that large socio-economic forces have on the city and its architecture. She is especially interested in how technology and technical thinking mediate the encounters between people and places. Through analyzing both ordinary and critical spatial practices, Jana seeks to recover the latent and as of yet invisible knowledges that are transmitted through the bodies and buildings of urban environments. In her forthcoming book, Jana deploys these methodologies to examine the agonism structuring Fordism and urbanization in early twentieth-century Detroit. For her latest research project, Jana turns to New York City to address the knowledge transfer occurring between visionary architects and radical social activists in the efforts to create cooperative housing.
Jana’s recent publications include “Agricultural Urbanism in Detroit,” which examines the changing meaning of urbanism in the after city, and “Citing Sites,” an essay exploring the parallel construction of the biographical narrative and the life histories of cities. Jana’s urban design work builds upon these themes by integrating scholarship and practice to produce innovative and lively urban spaces, such as the St. Joseph Rebuild Center, a disaster recovery center in New Orleans that was awarded a 2009 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence and the 2009 NCARB Prize for the Creative Integration of Practice and Education.
Jana holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and an M.Arch. from the University of Detroit Mercy. Jana was the 2011 Critical Studies Fellow at Cranbrook Academy of Art. She has served as the Editorial Director for Positions: On Modern Architecture + Urbanism / Histories + Theories and was a Design + Research Fellow at the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, where she designed and managed building projects for low-income communities.