Delia Wendel, a fellow of the SSRC’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship program, demonstrates how spatial and social research strategies can be combined through her work in post-genocide Rwanda. Wendel’s contribution engages issues raised in our "Interdisciplinarity Now" theme through a critical analysis of Rwanda’s villagization policy as part of its peacebuilding efforts after a devastating civil war. Wendel’s work speaks directly to the concerns of the SSRC’s African Peacebuilding Network (APN) and its blog Kujenga Amani.
Delia Duong Ba Wendel
Delia Wendel is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research incorporates perspectives from urban and architectural studies, cultural geography, and anthropology. She studies cities, conflicts, and natural disasters in Central and East Africa. Current writing builds from ethnographic and historical research in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide to explore how state peacebuilding objectives are realized and challenged in the rebuilding of housing, settlements, and civic space. Wendel previously worked as an architect, and holds degrees in urban planning (PhD, Harvard), cultural geography (University College London), architectural history and theory (Harvard), and architecture (Rice University). She served as a UN-HABITAT research consultant in 2009 and as a tenure-track lecturer at the University of Edinburgh from 2008 to 2011. Publications include essays on post-Katrina rebuilding in New Orleans, spatial forms of political praxis, and community building after mass violence. Wendel is coeditor with Fallon Aidoo of the 2015 book Spatializing Politics: Essays on Power and Place (Harvard University Press, 2016). Wendel was also a fellow of the Council's International Dissertation Research Fellowship program in 2012.