Taubman College Students Win Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship Award

Taubman College Students Win Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship Award

Michael McCulloch (Architecture) and Matt Weber (Urban and Regional Planning) each won a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship Award for “creative, ambitious, and risk-taking” work as doctoral students. Faiza Moatasim and Laura Smith, both students in the architecture program, were named as alternates.

Michael McCulloch and Matt Weber
Left, McCulloch; Right, Weber

McCulloch’s winning dissertation titled, “Building the Working City: Designs on Home and Life in Boomtown Detroit, 1914-1929,” looks at “the ubiquitous but understudied worker’s home in Detroit”. His project “reframes the discourse around the city’s residential ‘ruins’ by uncovering a new significance for Detroit’s largely abandoned worker’s houses: they index social contradictions that were built into the structure of the city from the beginning of Detroit’s automobile-based industrialization.”

Weber’s winning dissertation analyzes “the causes and consequences of the unraveling of formal property ownership in ‘shrinking’ cities – those urban areas of the American Rustbelt (and elsewhere) that have experienced sustained and substantial depopulation and disinvestment since World War II. Shrinking processes empty-out neighborhoods, concentrate poverty, and drive down property values.” His thesis is that “under these conditions, the legal, economic, social and spatial mechanisms that ordinarily reproduce formal property ownership break down… [T]he result is widespread informal property ownership.”

Rackham supported seventy-two Predoctoral Fellowships who have achieved candidacy and are actively working on dissertation research and writing spanning the catagories of: Biological and Health Sciences, Social sciences and Education, Humanities and the Arts, and Physical Science and Engineering. Rackham Predoctoral Fellowships are awarded to students who will complete their dissertation in the year in which they hold the fellowship. Approximately 240 students are nominated each year. The fellowship provides three terms of support that may begin with Spring/Summer or Fall term 2013.

For more information about the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, please click here.