Sheila Crane



BA, Smith College MA, Northwestern University PhD, Northwestern University


Sheila Crane has a long-standing interest in the history and theory of modern architecture and cities, particularly in Europe, North Africa, and the Mediterranean region.  She is the author of Mediterranean Crossroads: Marseille and Modern Architecture, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2011 with the support of a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.  Her book received the 2013 Spiro Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians.  Since September 2011, she has been a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Architectural Education, and she co-edited the “Design+” special issue, to be published in April 2014, with Marc Neveu and Amy Kulper.  Her current research explores how urban landscapes in France and Algeria were transformed during the long struggle for independence and its continuing aftermath. Recent publications include “Rewriting the Battle of Algiers: Ephemeral Tactics in the City at War,” forthcoming in Space and Culture; “Material Occupations,” in Otherwise Occupied: Bashir Makhoul, Aissa Deebi, an exhibition catalogue accompanying the Palestinian art exhibition at the 2013 Venice Biennale; "The Shantytown of Algiers and the Colonization of Everyday Life," in Use Matters: An Alternative History of Architecture (Routledge, 2013); “On the Edge: The Internal Frontiers of Architecture in Algiers/Marseille,” published in the Journal of Architecture in December 2011.  Previous publications have examined the dynamics of memory and forgetting in postwar and postcolonial contexts, new conceptions of historic preservation that emerged during the rebuilding of cities after World War II, the movements of architects and translations of built forms between Marseille and Algiers, and how everyday processes of occupying and appropriating space have shaped cities and their inhabitants.


Crane has held fellowships at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal (2006), the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University (2004–2005), and the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France (1998). She has also been a recipient of a Research Grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Association, a Chateaubriand Fellowship from the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France and a Samuel H. Kress Travel Fellowship in the History of Art.  In spring 2015, she will be a Fellow in residence at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she will be working on her current book project, Inventing Informality, which reconsiders the bidonville (shantytown)––as urban form, subject of visual representation, site of knowledge production, and object of social and spatial reengineering.

Awarded a University Teaching Fellowship for the academic year 2008–2009, Crane regularly teaches the history of architecture and urbanism from the 15th century to the present as well as the history of modern architecture and theories & methods in architectural history.  Recent seminar offerings include Mediterranean Cities, Memory & Architecture, The Spaces of the Modern City, Transnational Modernisms, and 1968 – Architecture, Urban Space, and the Politics of Everyday Life. Prior to joining the faculty at UVa in 2007, Crane taught in the History of Art and Visual Culture Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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