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Sheila Crane

“Inventing Informality”

Mellon Fellow, Spring 2019

University of Virginia, Mellon Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies, Spring 2019

Sheila Crane is associate professor and chair of the Architectural History Department at the University of Virginia. Her research examines the history and theory of modern architecture and urbanism, with a particular interest in cities in France, North Africa and the Mediterranean region. Her book Mediterranean Crossroads: Marseille and Modern Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) received the 2013 Spiro Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians. Her current book project, Inventing Informality, traces the emergence and migrations of the bidonville (shantytown) between the Maghreb and France, from the late 1920s through the 1970s. With reference to constructed landscapes and land rights, maps and urban plans, administrative records and sociological surveys, oral histories and literary descriptions, the bidonville is examined as an urban landscape, object of reengineering, site of knowledge production, and place of sociospatial reinvention by residents. She is currently the book reviews editor for Europe, Africa, and Asia from 1750 for the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Related Content

Midday Dialogue, March 29, 2016: “Inventing Informality in Algiers and Casablanca

Midday Dialogue, January 30, 2019: “Toward a History of the Bidonville/Karian as Urban Landscape

Read more about the Midday Dialogue and Crane’s research in our Q&A series.

Fellowship Report