Three Taubman College Ph.D. Students Win Prestigious Awards to Support International Research

Three Taubman College doctoral students are among the winners of the highly competitive International Research Awards from the University of Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School for 2021–2022. The awards support U-M doctoral and master’s students conducting degree-related research outside the United States and Puerto Rico.

Amit Ittyerah is a dual Ph.D. candidate in architecture and urban and regional planning. His research examines the architectural assemblies and resulting typologies of the rapidly “urbanizing peripheries” of formal metropolitan spaces in post economic liberalization India. Often products of private investments, these typologies are found along urbanizing highways corridors taking the form of performative consumerist architecture organised around regional social trends, and commodity & labour circulation between erstwhile metropolitan cores and other surrounding urbanizing smaller towns, villages and agrarian landscapes. These architectural typologies are representative of a form of urbanization that can be contentiously claimed to have left the city. Wedding venues are one such prominent representative typology. He analyses the architecture of wedding venues in relation to the landscape and organizational structure of local wedding industries around a couple of clusters of  towns and cities. These include sites along highways between Metropolitan Delhi and Ludhiana, Punjab in North India, and between Ernakulam and the town of Kozhencherry in the South Indian state of Kerala–famous for decentralized forms of planning and governance.  Deconstructing the wedding industry at these locations, he is interested in mapping and revealing the assembly of this still predominantly informal industry between metropolitan and non-metropolitan spaces, cultures and subjects.

Dicle Taskin is a Ph.D. candidate in architecture. Her research focuses on the Pan-American Highway project and questions how this infrastructure shaped the imaginary of hemispheric integration. With the emphasis on politics of scale and (re)presentation, her dissertation analyzes how the Pan-American Highway project extended beyond the framework of Pan-Americanism and became a medium through which conflicting discourses and aspirations were articulated. Through a mixed methods approach which combines archival research and mapping, Dicle traces how these conflicting discourses translated into an ambiguous, illegible, and incomplete material infrastructure, which still determines the processes of urbanization and resource extraction, crosses heavily policed borders and influences patterns of migration, and functions as a medium through which new promises and national aspirations are articulated.

Weican Zuo is a Ph.D. candidate in architecture. Her research focuses on public housing and inclusionary housing policies and practices in contemporary urban China. From a larger perspective, she is interested in exploring the dynamics of forces that are critical in framing public housing development. Her study extends to embrace public housing as a crucial element within China’s urbanization and sustainable urban development and think about how to integrate it within the future of the city. On the other hand, she is also interested in investigating social-spatial relationships within public housing and mixed-living communities, in order to better understand the dynamics among the physical environment, residents and socio-cultural factors in the play of constructing an inclusive built environment.