Susanna Hecht (Ph.D. in Geography, University of California, Berkeley) is a specialist on development and history in the New World Tropics, especially Amazonia. Her research represents an integration of paradigms across multiple sciences, social science and humanities disciplines ranging from soil science, agronomy, social and environmental history, history of ideas, science and technology studies to time series remote sensing in the study of changing Amazonian landscapes. Dr. Hecht’s work has been both innovative and durable with a central focus on the dynamics of land use and land use change over time and also over economic a cultural and ideational regimes. She has received awards from the MacArthur foundation, ACLS, Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, Shelby Cullum Davis Award Princeton, Center for Advanced study (CASBS) Stanford, Guggenheim, NASA, NSF, Swiss NSF, National Geographic, Pew, Ford and Hewlitt foundations. She was also awarded the Stanley Grunn award in 2023 for creativity in Geography, the Livingston Medal for Latin American Research (2018), The Melville Award for the best book in Environmental History by the American Historical Association (2015), and the Carl Sauer Award in Geography (2013).

Ayala Levin (PhD Columbia University, 2015) is an Associate Professor in Architectural History in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at University of California, Los Angeles. Levin specializes in architecture and urban planning in postcolonial African states, with a particular interest in the production of architectural knowledge as part of north-south or south-south exchange. Her book Architecture and Development: Israeli Construction in Sub Saharan Africa and the Settler Colonial Imagination (Duke University Press, 2022) explores the export of Israeli architectural and planning models to Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Ethiopia in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, she is co-editor of the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative collection of essays Architecture in Development: Systems and the Emergence of the Global South (Routledge, 2022), and the Journal of Architecture special issue on the Modern Village (2018).

Faiza Moatasim is Assistant Professor of Architecture in Urbanism and Urban Design at the USC School of Architecture. She holds a PhD in History and Theory of Architecture from the University of Michigan and specializes in modern colonial and post-colonial architecture and urbanism, low-income housing, urban informality, and displacement. Her book, Master Plans and Encroachments: The Architecture of Informality in Islamabad (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023), brings together informalities of the privileged and underprivileged in the high-modernist city of Islamabad (Pakistan). She is currently working on a second book project on the architecture of displacement and resistance of low-income tenants in Los Angeles. Moatasim is the director of Ordinary Urbanism Research Lab and USC School of Architecture’s Center for City Design.


Ken Breisch is an Associate Professor Emeritus of the School of Architecture at University of Southern California, where he founded and directed the Graduate Programs in Historic Preservation from 1997 to 2011 and taught until his retirement last year. Before that he held teaching positions at the University of Delaware and the Southern California Institute of Architecture. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and has published widely on American architectural history, including three volumes on the history of American libraries. Breisch is a past president and board member of the Society of Architectural Historians and served on the board of the Vernacular Architecture Forum. 

Zirwat Chowdhury is Assistant Professor of 18th- and 19th-century European art in the Department of Art History at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. in art history from Northwestern University, and her research explores the interconnected histories of art and visual culture in Britain, France, South Asia, and the Atlantic World in the 18th century.

Michael Osman‘s research in architectural history focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries, with a particular emphasis on buildings and cities in the United States. He seeks connections between the infrastructure that undergirds the processes of modernization and the historiography of modernist architecture. Osman is the author of Modernism’s Visible Hand: Architecture and Regulation in America (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), a book on the role buildings have played in developing systems for environmental and economic regulation. He also has co-edited the volume Writing Architectural History: Evidence and Narrative in the Twenty-First Century (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021). Osman is one of the founding members of Aggregate: The Architectural History Collaborative, a platform for exploring new methods in architectural history. He currently directs the Department’s MA and PhD programs in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA where he is Associate Professor.


Judith Carney is Distinguished Research Professor of Geography at UCLA. She researches Africa and its food legacy in the Americas. Professor Carney has authored more than 100 research articles and two books. Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas received the Melville Herskovits Book Award, and In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World, the Frederick Douglass Book Prize. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Association of American Geographers. Other professional awards in her discipline include its Distinguished Scholarship Honor, the Historical Geography Award, the Netting Award for geography and anthropology, and the Sauer Distinguished Scholarship Award. Her research has been supported by the National Geographic Society, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society.

Robin Lauren Derby‘s research has treated dictatorship and everyday life, the long durée social history of the Haitian and Dominican border, and how notions of race, national identity and witchcraft have been articulated in popular media such as rumor, food and animals. Her publications include the prizewinning The Dictator’s Seduction: Politics and the Popular Imagination in the Era of Trujillo, and most recently the co-authored Terreur de frontière:  le massacre des Haïtiens en République dominicaine en 1937 (Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2021). Her current project is based on oral testimony of demonic animal apparitions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic and considers werewolf encounters in light of the animal turn. It is called Bêtes Noires: Sorcery as History in the Haitian-Dominican Borderlands. She is professor of history and holds the Bradford Burns Chair of Latin American History at UCLA.

Shannon Speed is a tribal citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. She is Director of the American Indian Studies Center (AISC) and Professor of Gender Studies and Anthropology at UCLA. Dr. Speed has worked for the last two decades in Mexico and in the United States on issues of indigenous autonomy, sovereignty, gender, neoliberalism, violence, migration, social justice, and activist research. She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters in English and Spanish, and has published seven books and edited volumes, including her most recent, Incarcerated Stories: Indigenous Women Migrants and Violence in the Settler Capitalist State, which won the Best Subsequent Book Award of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association in 2019 and a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title award in 2020. She has a new co-edited volume entitled, Heightened States of Injustice: Activist Research on Indigenous Women and Violence (University of Arizona Press). Dr. Speed currently serves as the Past President of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA). In recent years, she was awarded the Chickasaw Dynamic Woman of the Year Award by the Chickasaw Nation, and the President’s Award by the American Anthropological Association.