Postdoctoral Fellows


Elvan Cobb | Spatial Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow in Levantine Studies
Ph.D. History of Architecture and Urbanism, Cornell University
Railway Crossings: Encounters in Ottoman Lands

Elvan is a historian of the built environment, exploring the effects of modernization projects on spatial practices. Focusing on the Ottoman Empire, the modern Middle East and the Islamic world, her work brings an interdisciplinary approach to the study of space by engaging with histories of technology, archaeology, travel, environment and the senses. Elvan serves on the editorial team of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture and she is the assistant director of a diachronic archaeological field project in Armenia. At Rice, Elvan is affiliated with the Humanities Research Center's levantCarta Initiative and she is working on a book manuscript based on her doctoral work that explores the spatial histories of early railways in Ottoman Anatolia originating from the port city of Izmir. 


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
1767: Two Trips to the Northern Frontier of New Spain

Marie Saldaña received her PhD in Architecture at UCLA in 2015. She studies the interrelationship of geography and landscape with the built environment. Her current work focuses on the geographic, demographic, and architectural history of Texas and Northeastern Mexico in the Spanish colonial and early Mexican periods.