Seçil Binboğa is the latest in a series of Taubman College doctoral students to be honored by the Graham Foundation for their dissertations. Binboğa, a Ph.D. candidate in architecture, recently earned a 2021–2022 Carter Manny Writing Citation of Special Recognition from the foundation for her dissertation, “Scaling the Region: Visuality, Infrastructure, and the Politics of Design in Cold War Turkey.”
Binboğa explores how the American Cold War utilized environmental and infrastructural design technologies to recast ways of knowing about nature and space. Her work examines the transformation of Turkey into a regional testing ground for developing regimes of financial extraction and warfare. Centering on the relationship between Cold War projects and the geographical making of the Middle East, Binboğa aims to show how practices like mapping, surveying, and infrastructural design fundamentally altered human-environment relations and reshaped our understanding of space.
“This award was given to a cohort of cross-disciplinary projects that show what kinds of questions, issues, and concepts that architectural, art historical, and anthropological research wrestle with in order to make sense of our troubled contemporary world,” said Binboğa, whose advisers are Andrew Herscher, professor of architecture and history of art, and William Glover, associate professor of history. “I am glad that my project, an environmental history of the Cold War in the Middle East, was selected to become part of this critical cohort. And I believe these projects not only illustrate the future of intellectual production in the field of architecture but also bring to the fore a set of diverse methodologies to envision the possibility of a just future.”
Binboğa continues the streak of recent honorees affiliated with Taubman College. Vishal Khandelwal, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History of Art, received the 2020–2021 Carter Manny Writing Award for his dissertation, “Belonging Without Aligning: India and the Ethics of Design, 1955–1985.” Taubman College faculty member Claire Zimmerman, associate professor of architectural history and theory, serves as his adviser.
Architecture student Irene Brisson, M.S. ’17, Ph.D. ’21, received the 2019–2020 Carter Manny Writing Award for her dissertation, “Speaking, Gesturing, Drawing, Building: Relational Techniques of a Kreyòl Architecture,” which was born in the work that she undertook in Haiti as a designer after the devastating 2010 earthquake. Her adviser was Joy Knoblauch, associate professor of architecture.
In 2018, Emine Seda Kayim, a Ph.D. candidate in architecture, became the first University of Michigan student to win the Carter Manny Research Award for her dissertation, “Stasi as Architectural Producer: Surveillance and Scientific Management in the East German Built Environment, 1961–1989.” Claire Zimmerman, associate professor of architectural history and theory, serves as her adviser.
Dedicated exclusively to architectural scholarship, the Carter Manny Award program supports the completion of impactful doctoral dissertations on architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. Established in 1996, it honors architect Carter H. Manny and his work with the Graham Foundation.
Learn more about the Graham Foundation here.