Somayeh Chitchian

Somayeh Chitchian is an architect, urban researcher and doctoral student at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design. She was a doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Germany from 2015-2019. Her research focuses on the extended corridors of migratory circulation and uses a logistical / infrastructural lens as both a material and theoretical tool towards a respatialized approach to migration research beyond its inherent methodological nationalism. Chitchian’s work lies at the intersection of critical urban theory, migration research, border- and logistics studies, and is guided by de/postcolonial thought, critical race theory, and radical cartography as its overarching framework of analysis. The central question guiding her doctoral work is: How does the contemporary logistics space (re)produce its political figure on-the-move—i.e., “the migrant”?

Chitchian is a trained architect (B.Arch and M.Arch) from Delft University of Technology in the Netherland and holds a Master in Design Studies degree (MDes) in Critical Conservation (with distinction) from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Her masters thesis research “Middle Eastern Immigration Landscape in America” won Harvard ESRI Development Center’s Student of the Year Award in 2014. During her years in the Netherlands, she practiced as an architect at several firms in both Amsterdam and The Hague, where she collaborated on various residential and cultural projects, as well as the design of advanced building envelopes. At Harvard, she has held various appointments as teaching and research fellow.

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Somayeh in the Old City of Baku, capital of Azerbaijan