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Taskin and Puff Honored with Graham Foundation Carter Manny Awards

Doctoral students Dicle Taskin and Jessica Puff
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Doctoral students Dicle Taskin and Jessica Puff have been recognized by the Graham Foundation for their dissertations. This is the fifth consecutive year Taubman doctoral candidates have been commended by the Graham Foundation.

Taskin’s dissertation “​​The Pan-American Highway Project: Imageries, Infrastructures, and Landscapes of Hemispheric (Dis)Integration, 1923–70” was honored with the 2022 Carter Manny Writing Award. The dissertation explores the past, present, and future of the Pan-American Highway and the ideologies behind large-scale infrastructure projects. The Pan-American Highway, which extends from Alaska to Patagonia, was conceived in the 1920s as the ideological promise of hemispheric integration, a concept rooted in the political movement of Pan-Americanism. Taskin examines the representation, logistics, and construction of the project, combining archival research and mapping to question how the uneven power dynamics of Pan-Americanism were negotiated through this infrastructure project and its imprint on the built environment.  

The research expands its scope to investigate the Pan-American Highway while developing a multi-scalar methodological approach to studying public infrastructure projects in general. "The dissertation approaches the Pan-American Highway as a fragmented and incomplete project which was conceived at a planetary scale as well as a material infrastructure which still influences patterns of development, urbanization, migration, and extraction." Taskin explains, "My goal is to develop a set of research methods, tools, and frameworks which may not only accommodate these temporal and spatial scales but also apply to the study of other infrastructure projects, both historically and spatially, considering their lasting impacts in the built environment." 

"The last two years have been very challenging due to the Covid-19 pandemic and I am deeply grateful for the recognition and support of the Graham Foundation," said Taskin. "This is also the fifth consecutive year that a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Michigan is receiving a Carter Manny award or a special recognition. I am very happy to contribute to this collective achievement, and I hope that it can be an endorsement for continued support for the Architecture Ph.D. program and its history and theory track.”

Puff received the 2022 Carter Manny Research Citation for her dissertation “Settler Colonialism and the National Historic Preservation Act: Preserving History and Historic Preservation Policy in the Pacific Islands.” Her research analyzes how settler colonization establishes racial and cultural bias within the historic preservation field, informs public policy and professional practice, and influences what is determined historic and worthy of preservation to explore avenues for decolonization and reform. It focuses on the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and its policy impacts on the state of Hawai’i. 

“I hope my work will contribute to a larger conversation that is currently missing from the historic preservation field about how we can reimagine how we create public policy to be more reflective of the lived experiences and histories of marginalized peoples,” said Puff.

The Carter Manny Award program supports the completion of outstanding doctoral dissertations on architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. Established in 1996, it is the only pre-doctoral award dedicated to architectural scholarship and honors architect Carter H. Manny and his contributions to the Graham Foundation.

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