Research Summary

Resonant Tomb: A Feminist History of Sufi Shrines in Pakistan


  • Ph.D , Architectural History and Theory, Princeton University. Project: Wireless Sites: Architecture in the Space of Early British Radio (1927-1945)
  • SMArchS, History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture, MIT. Project: Monument without Qualities: Jinnah's Mausoleum in Karachi (1948-1965)
  • Special Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University
  • Bachelors in Architectural Design , Architecture, National College of Arts, Lahore. Project: Zoological Gardens and Research Center, Islamabad


Shundana Yusaf joined the School of Architecture, University of Utah faculty in Fall 2012. She has previously taught at the School of Architecture, Pratt Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and H.ECO College, Peshawar University. Her teaching interests include world history of architecture, media studies in architecture across space and time, sound studies, and historic preservation in the age of advanced globalization. She has studied architecture at National College of Arts, Lahore, and architectural history at Harvard, MIT, and Princeton University. Utah students interested in developing writing and research skills and a career in scholarly study of art, architecture or urbanism are encouraged to contact her.

Yusaf’s first book is called Broadcasting Buildings: Architecture on the Wireless, 1927-1945 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 28 Feb. 2014). It  is the first detailed exploration of architecture in the age of wireless listening. It studies BBC’s transmissions on architecture and the cultural politics of a dwindling empire and an emergant welfare state.

She is now working on two seemingly very different book projects: a) A monograph on Utah’s Hundred Most Representative Buildings and b)a history of six Sufi shrines in India, Pakistan and Iran. The monograph on Utah architecture comes out of writing for the Archipedia Project conducted by Society of Architectural Historans. Sufi Shrines in the Age of Hyperconnectivity (1800-2015) investigates the combination of forces—modern governance, religious intolerance, terrorism, museumification, commercialization, globalization, and identity politics—that has contributed to the transformation of the architectural and spatial organization of these sites. The past two centuries have witnessed the dissolution of their previous cultural functions and alteration of their ritual practices. She wants to explore the history of modernization as experienced at these sites, and describe how political tension and cultural change is spatialized.

Shundana Yusaf has presented her work at ACSA, IASTE, École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture, and SAH. She has received grants from Paul Mellon Fellowship in British Art and Architecture, Graham Foundation, Aga Khan Program for Islamic Art and Architecture, and the Common Wealth. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Architecture, TDSR, JSAH, Architecture + Identity, and Thresholds. This year she served as the first editor of Dialectic, SAH Archipedia coordinator for Utah, and a teaching material coordinator for the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative supported by Mellon.

She and her colleagues, Luis Castaneda (Syracuse University), Peter Christensen (University of Rochester), Itohan Osayimwese (Brown University), and Mrinalini Rajagopalan (University of Pittsburg) have developed a teaching kit for an undergraduate course on the history of world architecture as it has evolved against key technologies of movement and communication from orality to print to digital technology. The kit includes detailed syllabus for a year long course and seven ready-to-use lectures.