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Viviana Pupeza, Dipl.-Ing, MPhil

Viviana Pupeza, Dipl.-Ing, MPhil

PhD student

I am an urban historical geographer, interested in the geopolitics of large infrastructure projects in the African city. My doctoral research entitled Cecil Rhodes' Cape to Cairo and Urban Transformations, 1890 – 1961, explores the historiography of railway-operation-related urban transformations in Cape Town.

Biography

Career

  • 2020 - present, PhD student in Geography and Studienstiftung Scholar, University of Cambridge
  • 2017 - 2018, Teaching and research assistant, Urban Studies Institute, Universität Basel
  • 2013 - 2016, Architect in Zurich and Basel, Switzerland
  • 2012, DAAD -IAESTE Fellowship for internship in architecture, Amman, Jordan

Qualifications

  • 2018 - 2020, MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies, University of Cambridge (First class, and distinction on dissertation)
  • 2007 - 2013, Dipl.-Ing., equivalent to BSc and MSc, in Architecture, Leibniz Universität Hannover (First class)

Awards and scholarships

  • Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, Doctoral Scholarship, 2020-2023
  • Royal Geographical Society's Planning and Environment Research Group second prize for the best dissertation, 2020
  • The Boak Student Support Fund for fieldwork, 2019
  • Clare Hall Tutor's Awards for fieldwork and thesis completion, 2019
  • Urban History Association, Graduate Travel Fund for conference, 2018
  • DAAD-IAESTE Fellowship for internship in architecture, Amman, Jordan, 2012
  • ERASMUS Fellow, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, 2011 - 2012
  • Lavesstiftung, Acknowledgement Lavespreis for best façade shading system, 2010

Research

My project explores the territorial transformations of Cecil Rhodes' project, Cape to Cairo, for a railway between the Cape Colony and Egypt from the 1890s. I analyse the socio-political impact of the South African Railways with emphasis on Cape Town by investigating how Rhodes' infrastructure became a tool for territorial capture, as well as exploring the political vision of post-colonial planning.

I will examine, on the one hand, how the territorial governance of this large-scale infrastructure materialised and influenced geopolitical and socio-political relationships considering spatial and social justice. On the other hand, my project scrutinises to what extent the historiography of Rhodes' infrastructure project in southern Africa can indicate why and how its vision and realisation are contradictory on the ground, as well as how the project is received in order to contribute to public policymaking in distorting African city imaginaries.

Before beginning my doctoral studies, I earned my Master of Philosophy in Architecture and Urban Studies (2020) at the University of Cambridge. My thesis, Government Railways in the 1900s. A Resource for Resistance, involved independent extended fieldwork in Cape Town, and was awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Planning and Environment Research Group second prize for the best dissertation submitted in 2019.

Prior to Cambridge, as research assistant within the Urban Studies Institute (Universität Basel), I investigated global urban history from the early modern period to the present.

Workshops

  • Urban revitalisation project developed in a team for a multi-cultural urban square in Torino, organised by IZMO in cooperation with Politecnico di Torino, 2011

Conferences and presentations

  • Government Railways in the 1900s. A Resource for Resistance, Annual Conference Royal Geographical Society, Historical Geography Research Group, 2021
  • How the Pan-African newspaper The South African Spectator served the Coloured elite in exerting resistance to social control resulting from the railway operation in Cape Town in 1902, European Conference of African Studies, 2019, paper accepted
  • Cape Town to Kimberley Until 1890: Railway-Operation-Related Urban Transformations, poster presented at the Urban History Association Conference, Columbia, South Carolina, US, 2018
  • Cape Town to Kimberley Until 1890: Railway-Operation-Related Urban Transformations, Clare Hall Lunchtime Talks, Cambridge, 2018

Teaching

  • 2017 - 2018, Histories of Urbanisation, module of MA in Critical Urbanisms, Universität Basel
  • 2014, co-organisation of a student trip for 25 students from the Leibniz Universität Hannover to the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II

External activities

  • Member: Royal Geographical Society, Urban History Association, Society of Architectural Historians and Architectural History Network
  • Cambridge University Lawn Tennis Club, 2018 - present
  • External Officer and member of the Graduate Student Body at Clare Hall, 2018 - 2019
  • Academic Representative of the Department of Architecture and History of Art, 2018 – 2019
  • Ski leader for school students in Graubünden, Switzerland, 2018