Mrinalini Rajagopalan


221 Frick Fine Arts

Assistant professor, South Asian architecture and urbanism; global modernisms; history of preservation

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 India. She is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled: Building Histories: The Construction and Contestation of Delhi’s Architectural Heritage from the Colonial Past to the Postcolonial Present. 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; and the history of architectural preservation.

Before coming to Pitt, Rajagopalan held fellowships at Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University. She was also a visiting scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 2010.


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).