Search for the Next Mellon Junior Fellows in Humanities, Urbanism and Design—


Applications are now invited for two one-year Junior Fellowships to be held in 2016-2076.

One fellow will be selected from the humanities and one from design. Each will be hosted at Penn by a department in the other discipline.

Mellon Junior Fellows will be selected on the basis of their ability to contribute, through research and teaching, to the mission of the initiative.  During their ten months in residence, they will have the opportunity to pursue their own research. They will participate in the bi-weekly Colloquium, presenting their research at one of those sessions, and they will also participate fully in the academic life of their host departments. In the spring semester they will teach an undergraduate seminar, which may be co-taught by the two fellows.

For full job description,
HUD Junior Fellow JobDescript 2016-17
Junior Fellow application cover sheet

New H+U+D Courses for Spring 2016—


For Spring 2016, H+U+D will sponsor several new course for undergraduates and one graduate seminar. Thanks to our new Mellon H+U+D Jr. Fellows, we will add two new courses to our multidisciplinary offerings.

ARCH-314 Fantastic Cities
This seminar introduces the notion of the city, or polis, as a powerful current in our cultural imagination, provoking both fear and desire. Through architectural theory, literature, and film, we will examine representations of Rome, Berlin, New York, Lagos, and a series of utopian and dystopian imagined cities. Course taught by Dr. Christina Svendsen, Mellon H+U+D Fellow
HIST 233- Improvised Cities in the Modern World: Between Design and Urban Informality 
The course examines the formation of the improvised or “informal” city in historical context, considering this as a global phenomenon, whether framed as slum, shantytown, bidonville, favela, katchi abadi, human settlement, etc. It traces the shifts in design professionals’ conceptions of and responses to the improvised city, ranging from the confident assertions of order expressed by early reform housing and urban renewal projects, to experiments with self-help and design for progressive development, and more recent targeted interventions aimed at achieving incremental improvements or upgrading. Course taught by Dr. Helen Gyger, Mellon H+U+D Fellow.

Back by popular demand, The City: Baltimore co-taught by Professor Eric Schneider, History and Professor Michael Nairn, Urban Studies will once again explore the history of the city and its institutions using HBO’s series The Wire as a core text.

URBS/HIST 210- The Wire and The City
This semester Urbs/Hist 210 will focus on Baltimore and use The Wire as one of its core “texts.” The course will explore the history and development of the city and its institutions, with a topical focus on issues such as industrialization and deindustrialization; urban renewal and the role of universities; public education; policing and the criminal justice system; drugs and underground markets; institutions; public housing; and Baltimore’s so-called renaissance amidst persistent poverty. The seminar will include field trips both in Philadelphia and a concluding all-day trip to Baltimore.

Finally, we will be offering a graduate student seminar, co-taught by Professor Naomi Waltham-Smith, Music and Professor Francesca Ammon, City and Regional Planning.

HSPV 638 / MUS 621 Cities and Sound: The Spatial Politics and Practices of Sound in Modern Urban Life This seminar will examine the role of sound in shaping modern urban spaces and life. While music plays a large part in the sounds of the city, we will focus on soundscapes more broadly. From the late 19th century through the present, and in geographies spanning from Paris to Philadelphia, we will explore the making, meaning, and experience of sound for varied populations; the politics of sound as an instrument of power; and the policies of noise regulation.

H+U+D Welcomes Two Junior Fellows—


The Mellon Humanities, Urbanism and Design Initiative at Penn (H+U+D)  is pleased to announce the arrival of its first two Junior Fellows.

Dr. Helen Gyger and Dr. Christina Svendsen have been named H+U+D Junior Fellows for the 2015-2016 academic year, in a program support by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. They were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants from the humanities and design disciplines. In keeping with the mission of H+U+D to bring together scholars and students to explore cities at the intersection of the humanities and design, Dr. Svendsen, a scholar of comparative literature, is being hosted by the School of Design, and Dr. Gyger, an architectural scholar, is hosted by the School of Arts and Sciences.

gygerHelen Gyger joins the Mellon H+U+D Initiative from Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, where she received her PhD in 2013 and has taught courses on architectural history and theory. Her research focuses on the architecture and built environments of modern Latin America  and contemporary patterns of “informal” urban development, which is a global phenomenon. She is the co-editor (with Patricio del Real) of Latin American Modern Architectures: Ambiguous Territories (Routledge, 2012) and is currently working on a book project titled The Informal as a Project: Self-Help Housing in Peru, 1954–1986. While at Penn, her research will focus on the urban development programs of the Alliance for Progress. She is appointed in the Department of History (SAS).

This fall, the initiative also welcomes Christina Svendsen, who completed her PhD in 2010 at Harvard University, Svendsen bio photowhere she has taught in the Department of Comparative Literature and co-directs “Rethinking Translation,” a Mahindra Humanities Center seminar in collaboration with Peter Waterhouse’s Versatorium (a translation collective) and the Akademie der Lesende Künste in Vienna. She has published the first English translations of architect Paul Scheerbart’s Lesabéndio: an Asteroid Novel (2012) and the surrealist Unica Zürn’s The Trumpets of Jericho (2015). Her research interests include modernist literature, architectural and critical theory, and new materialisms. Currently, she is revising a book manuscript titled Stone, Steel, Glass: Architectures of Time in European Modernity. Her newest project, on which she will work while at Penn, is a conceptual history of transparency and virtual space, tentatively called “Aesthetics of Transparency: Glass Culture as Threat and Desire.” She is appointed in the Department of City and Regional Planning (Design).

Both Junior Fellows will participate in the H+U+D faculty colloquium and teach interdisciplinary undergraduate seminars in spring 2016.