Sarah Lopez is a built environment historian, as well as a migration scholar. Lopez’s research focuses on the impact of migrant remittances — dollars earned in the U.S. and sent to families and communities in Mexico — on the architecture and landscape of rural Mexico and urban United States. By approaching architectural history within the context of migration, Lopez examines multiple sites across international borders, arguing that we must examine the spatial and built environment histories of discrete places simultaneously. Her book The Remittance Landscape: The Spaces of Migration in Rural Mexico and Urban USA was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2015 and won the 2017 Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians. Her 2015 book chapter, “Putting Vista Hermosa on the Map: Migrant Boosterism in Distant Homelands,” won the 2017 Bishir Article Prize from the Vernacular Architecture Forum.
Lopez is currently working on two projects. The first examines the architecture of immigrant detention facilities in Texas, a project commenced in partnership with the Humanities Action Lab (HAL) States of Incarceration national exhibit. Her class contribution to the exhibition is titled “Spatial Stories of Migration and Detention” and was recently exhibited at the University of Texas at Austin. The second explores the evolution of an informal binational construction industry linked to thirty years of continuous migration between Mexico and the U.S.
Spring 2019 Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment: Locating Politics
The Spring 2019 Mellon Forum on the Urban Environment is organized by Princeton Mellon Fellows Nasser Abourahme and Noam Shoked. “Locating Politics” takes up the rise and fall of recent uprisings as a springboard for examining a broader inventory and longer trajectory of spaces of contestation. We question the historical and emergent topologies of politics and their changing relations to race, migration, indigeneity, coloniality, and crisis. We ask how histories of sites of conflict, ranging from houses and streets to camps and prisons, might offer us not just understandings of different locations of politics, but of the overturning and re-bounding of the very limits of the political. The term location suggests both place (locus) and relational position, and it is to this intersection that this forum speaks — where and with whom do we act politically today?