The Graham Foundation recognized Taubman College Ph.D. student Deepthi Bathala with a 2023 Carter Manny Writing Citation. The Ph.D. candidate earned this recognition for her dissertation titled “Famine Crops, Plantations, and Environmental Imaginaries: Botanical Gardens in Colonial and Contemporary India.”
The Graham Foundation was created in 1956 to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. The Carter Manny Award is given exclusively to those who have impactful doctoral dissertations on architecture. Bathala’s award maintains the streak of honorees affiliated with Taubman College, including recent winners Dicle Taskin, Jessica Puff, Seçil Binboğa, Irene Brisson, and more.
Bathala describes her project as one that dives into a deeper understanding of the organization and foundation of colonial botanical gardens. “It will consider human and non-human interactions, as well as collaborations and conflicts, within the narratives of the colonial built environment,” she said. She aims to “write an architectural history that explores the intersections of climate, colonialism, and the environment.”
“My aspiration is to contribute to a broader understanding of the active role that plants play in shaping our environment and informing our efforts to address climate change. This is particularly significant because the botanical gardens I am studying are major focal points for producing region-specific knowledge for climate change initiatives today,” Bathala said.
In response to receiving the award, Bathala said, “Doctoral candidates from the University of Michigan have been receiving the Carter Manny Award or Special Recognition consecutively in the last five years. I am deeply honored to be part of this collective milestone for the sixth consecutive year. I am sincerely grateful for this recognition and for the support my project has received from the Graham Foundation.”
In addition to the Carter Manny Writing Citation, Bathala has received support from Rackham, the Paul Mellon Centre in London, the Oak Spring Garden Foundation in Virginia, and the Society of Architectural Historians. She says that support has been instrumental in developing her project.