HAUD Ph.D. Candidate Whitten Overby Wins Master's Thesis Award

April 1, 2016

Whitten Overby, (Ph.D. HAUD '16) is the recipient of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools Master's Thesis Award 2015-16. Overby's master's thesis, titled "The Seekers," was the unanimous choice of the award committee.

"My M.A. thesis attempted to intervene in architectural history by insisting upon an ethnographic examination of an everyday rather than elite architecture—architecture with a lower case a," says Overby. "It is emboldening for myself and for other architectural historians working in, on, and through the popular rather than in the idiom or shadow of Mies and Le Corbusier to have this work acknowledged not by architectural historians but by people outside of our discipline. AAP, but especially my chair, D. Medina Lasansky, have afforded me the opportunity to think creatively and against the grain."

"The Seekers," examines the contemporary American home, theorizing "the waning spatial coordinates of the U.S.'s iconic citizen-inhabitants — white, middle class, heterosexual families ensconced in the fantasia of suburbia." He has published in the Journal of Architectural Education, and for Flow, an online television studies journal, and he is the 2015–16 winner of the S. Knight Institute's Buttrick Crippen Fellowship, which provides a full year of support for a single fellow from the Graduate School to study and practice teaching undergraduate writing.

"We should all be proud and congratulate Whitten," says Lasansky, who is the Michael A. McCarthy Associate Professor of Architectural Theory. "This is a real honor," she adds, and thanks the other committee members, Chris Garces, assistant professor, anthropology; and Amy Villarejo, professor, performing and media arts, "for all they have done for Whitten."

The award letter noted that the "review committee thoroughly enjoyed reading the well-written and sophisticated thesis." Overby will be honored at the Northeastern Association of Graduate School's annual conference in Waterloo, Ontario, in April.

By Patti Witten

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