An Urban Humanities Initiative

Graduate Summer Research Fellowship

The Center for the Humanities, in partnership with the College and Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design, is pleased to announce a new summer research fellowship opportunity for graduate students in the Humanities, Humanistic Social Sciences, Architecture, Urban Design, and Landscape Architecture. The graduate students, profiled below, were selected to conduct research on urban segregation during the summer of 2017 and 2018. Meet the 2017 and 2018 cohort of Divided City Graduate Summer Research Fellows below.

For more information on how to apply for the 2019 Fellowship, click here.

Meet our 2018 Cohort


Oguz Alyanak


Oguz Alyanak is a PhD Candidate in sociocultural anthropology, graduate student fellow at the Center for the Humanities, and McDonnell scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. His dissertation focuses on Muslim men and their going out habits, with a particular emphasis on their participation in the nighttime economy in the Franco-German borderland (Strasbourg-Kehl), and moral anxieties pertaining to their practices outside of home and workspaces. For the summer of 2018, he will be returning to Strasbourg to produce a short ethnographic film on French public housing courtyards, with a particular emphasis on youth socialization in these spaces.


Mark Beirn


Mark Beirn is a PhD candidate in International Urban History at Washington University in St. Louis and a 2017-18 Fulbright Scholar at the Global Urban History Project in Berlin. His dissertation follows the contested emergence of the commercial airport as a new kind of urban infrastructure after the First World War. He focuses on the Berlin Airport Administration established in 1924 and the city’s cluster of airports, as well as airport infrastructure in post-war Istanbul, transition-era Nairobi, and St. Louis. With the Divided Cities Summer Fellowship, he will research in municipal and colonial archives in London, Paris, and Istanbul, and visit environmentally significant sites of the First World War.


Lauren Crossland-Marr


Lauren Crossland-Marr is a Ph.D. Candidate in cultural anthropology at the Washington University in St. Louis. Her year-long dissertation fieldwork investigates halal in Milan, Italy. Through interviews, focus groups, and participant-observation, Lauren is investigating how Italian-Muslims navigate a politically charged and socially divided foodscape. She takes a cultural approach, focusing on the daily process of institutionalization in the effort to break-down barriers to halal food access. She is currently a junior member of the Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies and a student researcher at the University of Milan, Statale. Before attending Washington University, Lauren received an M.A. in anthropology from the Catholic University of America in 2014. In 2007, she received two bachelor’s degrees, one in Italian language and another in anthropology, from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Elizabeth Eikmann

American Studies, Saint Louis University

Elizabeth is a current PhD candidate in American Studies at Saint Louis University. Her summer research project, “Seeing St. Louis: The Urban, the Visual, and the Color Line,” works to explore the social, cultural, and political meanings embedded in images of late-nineteenth century St. Louis. Specifically, the project aims to recover the visual meanings of the “color line” as it was constructed in photographs of local urban spaces. In addition to photography and local history, Elizabeth is also interested in gender studies and public history. In her spare time Elizabeth enjoys visiting museums and giving tours of St. Louis neighborhoods.

Wei Liu

Architecture & Urban Design

Wei Liu is currently a doctoral candidate in the inaugural cohort of Sustainable Urbanism at the Sam Fox School of Architecture & Urban Design at Washington University. He received a Master of Urban Design from University of Miami, Coral Gables (2016), and a Bachelor of Urban Planning in Tianjin, China (2014). Prior to the doctoral program in St. Louis, he worked as a city designer for Redevelopment Management Associates, a Florida-based company in Pompano Beach, FL. Wei’s research interests lie in the fields of urban sustainability, metabolism, & morphology, built environment, aging in place, public health, and the science of science communication. Wei has a holistic methodological approach to transdisciplinary sustainability thinking, involving complex social, cultural, political, environmental, and economic systems. He would like to address the design of cities that are more environmentally integrated with natural systems, healthier, less dependent on scarce natural resources, and more socially just. Wei is the recipient of the Graduate Student Travel Grant from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts (2018), the Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship from the Divided City Initiative (2018, 2017), and the Gina Tirinnanzi AICP Memorial Scholarship from American Planning Association (2016, 2015). In 2018, Wei was invited to the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting to present his research about social inequality and mobility from geographical perspectives. In 2015, Wei was invited to the American Planning Association Annual Conference to deliver a short discussion on the topic of New Urbanism.


Cindy Reed

American Studies, Saint Louis University

Cindy Reed is a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies at Saint Louis University. Having earned a B.A. in Communication with minors in Sociology and African American Studies and an M.A. in English, Cindy combines her social science and humanities interests to study twentieth-century African American literature situated in cities. From poetry to prose, Cindy’s work seeks to understand how the confluence of race, gender, class, and environment surface in black literature from an interdisciplinary standpoint and what those findings might imply specifically about black girls and women and larger societal institutions. Her research interests also include representations of black girls in literature and multi-media texts, as well as black, urban cities and spaces.

Santiago Rozo-Sanchez

Romance Languages and Literature

Santiago Rozo-Sánchez is a third year Graduate Student of Spanish and Latin American Studies. His areas of research include Contemporary Latin American cultural production, cultural theory, neoliberal culture, and ‘world literature’ theory.

Ena Selimovic

Comparative Literature

Ena Selimovic completed her MPhil in Comparative Literature at Trinity College in Dublin and is nowa PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. Her dissertation, Forms of Foreignness, traces ex-Yugoslav diaspora literatures’ travels among nodes of an inter-imperial network. She focuses on the newly reconfigured discourses on racialized and minority subjectivity emerging through migration, especially in the U.S. Originally from the Former Yugoslavia, she came to the U.S. as a refugee after spending six years in Turkey.

Sheng Yan


A second-year student in the Master of Architecture program in the Sam Fox School of Architecture & Urban Design, Sheng is interested in the morphology of cities as geopolitical phenomena, with specific focus on the impacts of transnational infrastructure building initiatives on local communities in emerging economies. He was a recipient of the Steedman Student Summer Research Grant in 2017 for his research on three early precedents of the “aerotropolis” model in Gander, Canada; Shannon, Ireland and Anchorage, Alaska. Sheng received an undergraduate degree in architectural studies from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Meet our 2017 Cohort


Andrea Godshalk

Sustainable Urbanism

Andrea Godshalk is currently a doctoral candidate in the inaugural cohort of the Sustainable Urbanism program in the Sam Fox School of Architecture & Urban Design. In 2015 she received a Master in Landscape Architecture and a Master of Urban Design from Washington University in St. Louis as a Mr. and Mrs. Spencer T. Olin Fellow. Her research and design work investigates urban resilience through social-ecological system dynamics. Recent publications have focused on Bio-centers: cooperatively owned communal ecological sanitation facilities, which produce biogas and compost in urban informal settlements in Kenya. In 2014, she was awarded the Steedman Summer Travel Fellowship to pursue research on informal urban metabolisms and community driven networked infrastructure in Kenya and Uganda. In 2013, Andrea was invited to the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference for the collaborative project, Urban Remediators: Interactive Living Landscape, which was a semi-finalist in the Sustainable LandLab design competition. In 2010, she was integral to the design and delivery of a $500,000 Department of State Professional Fellows in Food Security Program with BoldLeaders, which included four international exchanges around urban food systems with over fifty leaders from the U.S, Kenya, and Uganda and over one hundred organizations: universities, not-for-profit, government and business. Programming focused on best practices in waste to wealth strategies, production, distribution, legislation, and urban planning to improve food security. She has presented on these issues throughout the U.S. and internationally.

César D. Rodarte

Architecture & Urban Design

As a Mexican-American and as a design student, this issue is what made me seek a graduate degree in Urban Design. Advocating for the effects that our southern border has on our built environment and how design can “blur the edge” along the border is something I envision doing after the completion of my dual degree program (Master of Architecture /Master of Urban Design) at Washington University in Saint Louis. Designers and activist such as Teddy Cruz and Ronald Rael are currently considering this issue. Therefore, this is how this research relates to the competition of my degree; using the knowledge obtained with my two years of graduate studies and applied it on a personal issue to help communities and divided cities.

Chelsey Carter


Chelsey is a third-year doctoral student in anthropology and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to the onset of her doctoral studies, Chelsey worked with various non-profit and for profit organizations around the United States. Her background includes a demonstrated interest in healthcare services, human resources, employee benefits, healthcare reform, youth leadership education, high human touch services and applied medical anthropology. She has employed these interests and skills in her various positions with Global Youth Leadership Institute, Muscular Dystrophy Association, CARE USA, HisGrip Home Care, Northwestern Mutual, and Washington University School of Medicine.

Her research examines the intersections of race, class, gender, and chronic illness in the U.S. Her forthcoming project will examine how black people with neuromuscular diseases (like ALS) navigate healthcare spaces and experience care by healthcare institutions in St. Louis. Her work also considers how anti-black racism stifles health and further promotes health inequities for black people. She is a chief advocate for the use of ethnographic tools and methodologies to solve many of society’s most vexing concerns.

She received her Bachelor’s in Anthropology with high honors and a minor in Spanish from Emory University, where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. She also earned her Master’s in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. When not pursuing academic interests, she enjoys cooking, reading, working out and traveling internationally.

Francesca Dennstedt


Francesca Dennstedt earned a B.A. in Literature at the Universidad de las Américas Puebla, México. She is currently a third-year student in the Spanish program and she is doing a graduate certificate in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her areas of interest include contemporary Mexican and Brazilian literature, queer studies and gender studies. Currently, she is the editorial assistant of the Revista de Estudios Hispánicos.

Hsi-Chuan Wang

Sustainable Urbanism

Hsi-Chuan is  a doctoral candidate in the Sustainable Urbanism program at Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Architecture & Urban Design. His research interest looks at the metabolism of cities, especially focuses on the production and consumption of energy flows that are closely related to urban sustainability. Before his doctoral program, he was a professional urban planner working at Urban Development Bureau of Kaohsiung City, where he focused on brown filed redevelopment and urban renewal. His education at Washington University has inspired him to address both climate and equity issues for better cities.

José Sullivan


José Patricio Sullivan is a Chilean, first year doctoral student of Spanish in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Washington University in Saint Louis. He received his B.A. in Letras Hispánicas at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. His main topic of research is contemporary Chilean and Argentinian literature and culture with a focus on the mechanisms societies use to overcome their traumatic past.

Sarah Siegel


Sarah Siegel is a Ph.D candidate in Washington University’s History department. She studies studies American urban history, with a focus on community activism. She is interested in how resident groups work to influence local and federal city policies. Her research focuses on St. Louis in the 1960s-70s. Prior to her doctoral work, Sarah taught high school social studies in St. Louis and earned a Master’s degree in Education.

Waseem-Ahmed Bin-Kasim


Waseem-Ahmed Bin-Kasim is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of History.  So far, he has studied African History, Modern Middle East, and International Urban History. His research interest focuses on urbanism, public health, and development. His PhD dissertation is a comparative history of colonial Accra and Nairobi, two important capital cities in the British non-settler and settler colonies of the Gold Coast (Ghana) and Kenya. His dissertation is about sanitation and the ways it became the basis for enforcing and challenging urban development. He explores segregation, the making of buffer zones to separate racially-defined spaces, the so-called slums, demolition, housing, drains, sewers, and pipelines as an approach to understand the development of Accra and Nairobi.

In the past, Waseem-Ahmed approached African history by examining Muslim societies. For his M.Phil., he studied the construction of a Muslim identity in an urban setting in the Gold Coast Colony (Ghana). The research explored the construction of identity by a minority group of Muslims, who fashioned a distinctive society through neighbors who they considered non-Muslim and felt threatened by because of their overwhelming populations.

Christine Doherty

Architecture & Urban Design

As a result of the landmark decision of Brown vs. Board of Education, de jure and de facto desegregation programs benefited many students across the country, but these instances cannot solve the red lining still visible in many neighborhoods. Christine Doherty intends to analyze different types of school desegregation programs across the US in terms of student diversity, class, and achievement in comparison to neighborhood class and diversity.

As a Masters of Architecture and Urban Design student, she believes collaboration between regional systems, specifically education and transportation, can provide a viable solution for resilient neighborhoods. Because St. Louis’s own VICC is coming to an end, she hopes her spatial and temporal analysis will aid in the creation of sustainably balanced school system.

Wei Liu

Architecture & Urban Design

Wei Liu is a doctoral student of sustainable urbanism at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University. Previously, he was the associate designer of urban redevelopment project of a Florida based design firm Redevelopment Management Associates. Wei received his Master degree in Urban Design from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, and his Bachelor of Urban Planning from Tianjin, China. While at University of Miami, he was a teacher assistant at School of Architecture, and a part-time urban designer hired by a local real estate company as the designer of Chinatown conceptual design for the City of North Miami. 

To watch the Divided City Graduate Student Fellows’ Fall 2017 Presentations see below