Mrinalini Rajagopalan, 2020–21 | National Humanities Center

Mrinalini Rajagopalan (NHC Fellow, 2020–21)

Project Title

Marks She Made: The Art and Architecture of Begum Samru, 1803–1836

University of Pittsburgh

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Mina Rajagopalan

Fellowship Work Summary, 2020–21

Mrinalini Rajagopalan devoted nine months almost exclusively to drafting four (out of a total of five) chapters on her monograph Marks She Made: The Art and Architecture of Begum Samru, 18031836. She was able to make substantial progress on creating thematic chapters that synthesized archival material (historical documents, architectural plans, and paintings) and secondary sources. As part of a reading group at the NHC, Rajagopalan delved into Black feminist and queer theory (outside of my area studies in South Asian studies as well as discipline of art and architectural history), which has shaped the methodological approaches of her forthcoming book. During the spring semester of the fellowship, Rajagopalan was invited to contribute to two publications. The first essay “Modernism Marooned: Rethinking Historic Preservation via Postcolonialism” will appear in a publication accompanying a 2022 exhibition on modern architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The second is a historiographic essay to accompany the 80th anniversary publication of the premier journal in architectural history, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians.