Mrinalini Rajagopalan


221 Frick Fine Arts

Acting Director of architectural studies and assistant professor, South Asian architecture and urbanism; global modernisms; history of preservation; history and theory of contemporary architecture

Constellation(s): Environment
Mrinalini Rajagopalan is an architectural historian of India and is particularly interested in the impact of British colonialism 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 is under contract with the University of Chicago Press. The book will be published as part of the “South Asia Across the Disciplines” series. She is also co-editor of Colonial Frames, Nationalist Histories: Imperial Legacies, Architecture, and Modernity. At Pitt she offers courses on modernist architecture in Western and non-Western contexts; global urbanisms in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the history of architectural preservation; and the history and theory of contemporary architecture.
Before coming to Pitt Rajagopalan held fellowships at Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. She holds a professional undergraduate degree in Architecture and practiced for four years as an architect in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Ahmedabad, India.


PhD, University of California, Berkeley (2007)

Selected Publications

Colonial Frames, Nationalist Histories: Imperial Legacies, Architecture, and Modernity (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2012). Co-edited with Madhuri Desai.

“A Medieval Monument and its Modern Myths of Iconoclasm: The Enduring Contestations over the Qutb Complex in Delhi, India” in Richard Brilliant and Dale Kinney, eds., Reuse Value: Spoliation and Appropriation in Art and Architecture from Constantine to Sherrie Levine (Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2011).

“Preservation and Modernity: Competing Perspectives, Contested Histories and the Question of Authenticity,” in Greig Crysler, Stephen Cairns and Hilde Heynen, eds., The Handbook of Architectural Theory (Sage Publications, 2011).

“From Loot to Trophy: The Vexed History of Architectural Heritage in Imperial India” in The Newsletter of the International Institute of Asian Studies (University of Leiden Press, 2011).

“Post-Secular Urbanisms: Situating Delhi within the Rhetorical Landscape of Hindutva” in AlSayyad, Nezar and Mejgan Massoumi, eds., Cities and Fundamentalisms (London: Routledge, 2010).

Selected Awards

  • University of Pittsburgh UCIS Faculty Fellowship, Spring 2014
  • Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art, Summer 2012