Mrinalini Rajagopalan, Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor, Department of History of Art & Architecture, University of Pittsburgh, is a historian of India’s built environment and is particularly interested in the impact of colonialism and nationalism on the architectural, urban, and preservation cultures of modern South Asia. Her first monograph Building Histories: The Archival and Affective Lives of Five Monuments in Modern Delhi (University of Chicago Press, 2016) traces the modern lives of five medieval monuments in India’s capital city, Delhi, and brings attention to their contested histories, unexpected uses, and ideological appropriations by state and non-state actors. This book received the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award from the Society of Architectural Historians in 2018.
She is currently developing two new research projects. The first traces the built works of Begum Samru—a wealthy dowager who rose from modest beginnings as a dancing girl to become the independent ruler of a prosperous territory in nineteenth-century North India. The second, and more ambitious project, investigates the various architectural products built, commissioned, and patronized by the Tata Corporation during India’s long twentieth-century transformation from a European colony to a socialist nation and most recently to an economically-liberal state eager to participate in global markets.