Elisabeth Narkin | A. W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D. Art, Art History and Visual Studies, Duke University
Constructing Dynasty: Architecture and the French Royal Family
Elisabeth is an architectural historian of early modern France whose research focuses on the intersection of the domestic spaces of châteaux and the social spaces of court relationships. Her current project, Constructing Dynasty: Architecture and the French Royal Family, examines the manner in which the royal family's architecture projects, residential habits, and use of buildings--both independently and within the monarchy's territorial network--advanced a conception of the sixteenth-century monarchy as legitimate, enduring, and in touch with its subjects. With a focus on the royal children as central actors in the crown's long-term socio-political strategies, the project explores domestic architecture from the perspective of its users and argues that their relationship with buildings shaped the built environment as well as French politics. In addition to object-based inquiry and social history, Elisabeth deploys analytical tools like digital mapping and 3D modeling alongside spatial theory to understand spaces that physical changes and non-traditional sources might otherwise obscure.
Marie Saldaña | A. W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D. Architecture, UCLA
Cave and City: The Idea of the Cave in Architecture
Marie Saldaña studies the ways in which ephemeral, transient, and natural spaces are played out in and against the built environment, and how they become transformed in the architectural imagination. Her work combines traditional scholarship with maps, drawings, 3D models, and interactive media. She is currently finishing a digital project, "Cave and City", that uses procedural 3D models to explore the way the Greco-Roman city of Magnesia on the Maeander evolved over time in relation to its ritual landscape. She is also beginning a new project on the idea of the cave in the architecture, seeking to elucidate the architectural notions and practices that rely on the cave for their production and propagation, including concepts of temporality, form, representation, and the blurring of lines between the natural and artificial as expressed in technology.
Laura Richardson | Project Manager Fellow
Ph.D. English, Rice University
Houston in the Roaring 20s
Laura studies American and British modernism. Her current spatial project examines Houston in the 1920s, specifically the city’s cultures of bootlegging. With digital mapping technologies, she is creating an interactive map of Houston in the Roaring 20s, pinpointing speakeasies, busted bootlegging enterprises, and Prohibition-related organized crime efforts. Traditionally, accounts of the Roaring 20s focus exclusively on New York City or Chicago. This project defines Houston’s relationship to the decade that put it on the map, plotting the city’s—and with an eye for Texas’—role in “the Mad Decade.” Laura’s book project, Everyone’s a Critic: Eclectic Modernist Hermeneutics, examines the history of modernist criticism. Female critics were left out of literary criticism’s shift from the pens of poet-scholars to a codified system of analysis in American and British universities. Laura’s work is an archival project that recovers alternative methodologies of literary analysis from the early twentieth-century.
Kyle G. Sweeney | Project Manager Fellow
Ph.D. Art and Architectural History, Rice University
Kyle studies the relationship between Gothic architecture and the social, spatial, and ritual topography of towns and cities in late medieval Normandy. His research focuses on how a confluence of new social values, economic prosperity, and urban rituals gave rise to the extravagant displays of technical virtuosity and sophisticated ornament typical of ecclesiastical architecture at the turn of the sixteenth century. Kyle is particularly interested in visualizing the organization of urban space surrounding churches, as well as the public religious celebrations and royal entries that shaped the experience of the city at the end of the Middle Ages.