Mary N. Woods

Mary N. Woods is the author of seminal works about architectural education and practice; and film, photography, and the built environment: Women Architects in India: Histories of Practice in Mumbai and Delhi (2016); Beyond the Architect's Eye: Photographs of the American Built Environment (2013, 2009); and From Craft to Profession: Practice of Architecture in 19th-Century America (1999).

In 1991 Woods became the first woman tenured in Cornell's architecture department, founded in 1871. She was the inaugural Michael McCarthy Professor of Architectural Theory and received the Tau Sigma Delta Silver Medal for distinguished scholarship in 2018. Current projects include a documentary film on single-screen cinemas in India with director Vani Subramanian; an exhibition and catalog on Mumbai's architecture of the night with photographer Chirodeep Chaudhuri; and a history of postindustrial ruins and urban renewal in New York City and Mumbai. Woods earned a B. A. from Duke University and Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Academic Research/Specialty Areas

  • Architectural history
  • Architectural practice¬†
  • Architectural theory
  • Film/video/sound
  • Photography
  • History of architecture and theory
  • American architectural and urban history
  • South Asian modernism
  • Film and photography

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Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • Clarence Stein Institute Grant for film Shifting Frames: Migration and Indian Cinema Halls, Cornell University (2019)
  • Tau Sigma Delta Silver Medal for Distinguished Scholarship (2018)
  • Graham Foundation publication subvention for Women Architects in India (2016)
  • Canadian Centre for Architecture, Senior Scholar (2015)
  • Milton Rogovin Fellow, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona (2015)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • "Claiming Spaces/Designing Spaces: Women Architects in Modern India," Modern Heritage Conference, Frame/Conclave, Goa, India (2019)
  • "The City Has Memory: Images of Post-Independence Bombay and Neoliberal India," keynote address, Photography as Visual Research, RWTH, Aachen, Germany (2019)
  • "Women Architects in India," presentation for workshop on South Asian modernism, Museum of Modern Art, New York City (2018)

Publications (Selected)

  • "Upstate and Downstate Avant-Gardes: Artists and Artist Communities of Buffalo and New York City in the 1970s," Currents: Buffalo at the Crossroads, ed., Peter Christensen (Cornell University Press, 2019), pp. 44-65.
  • "An Empathetic Architect," in Brinda Somaya: Works and Continuities, eds. Ruturaj Parikh and Nandini Somaya Sompat (Mapin: Ahmedabad, 2018), pp. 441-444.
  • "Calcutta and the Modern Woman: Reading the Films Mahanagar and Kahaani." The Global South 9, no. 2 (2015), 85.
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