Samuel T. Brandt

Samuel T. Brandt

Graduate Student

Email: samuel.t.brandt@gmail.com

Biography

historical geography, urban/planning history, environmental history, cultural geography, the Southern Cone and Brazil

In a general sense, I take a phenomenon I observe in the field or on a map, and ask three basic questions: Why was it built? How was it built? How has it impacted people and landscapes at different scales? While this a broad framework, I focus on the Southern Cone and Brazil in the 20th century, paying particular heed to the inter-related tensions between urban and rural, domestic and foreign, and wealth and poverty.

My dissertation examines the environmental and philanthropic work of Uruguayan rancher Alberto Gallinal Heber (1909-1994) in improving agricultural productivity and social well-being in the Uruguayan countryside.

My undergraduate thesis took a piece of the built environment often perceived as ugly or mundane—a ring road—and through a careful analysis of plans, showed how it actually represented grand civic aspirations of a post-industrial city struggling to carve out its place in Britain’s urban hierarchy.

Following my undergraduate thesis, I spent a year in Uruguay on a Fulbright grant, after which, I completed a book manuscript, Uruguay, the Little Country in the Middle: Journeys Between Superlative and Mundane. Combining travel and analytical writing, I examine how an ideal of governance by and for the middle-class and its constituent social experiments impact everyday life in Uruguay in themes ranging from urbanism to soccer to music to education. While this book is geared to a wide audience beyond the academy, one of its main aims is to open avenues for future scholarly work on a country that, despite and because of its anonymity, is fertile ground for geographers and social scientists.

Education

M.A. Geography, The University of California, Los Angeles (2019)

A.B. Geographical Studies with Honors, The University of Chicago (2013)

Research

Through document analysis and ethnographic immersion, my work ambitiously seeks to tell a historical narrative of human interventions in the environment. In a general sense, I take a phenomenon I observe in the field or on a map, and ask three basic questions: Why was it built? How was it built? How has it impacted people and landscapes at different scales? While this a broad framework, I focus on the Southern Cone and Brazil in the 20th century, paying particular heed to the inter-related tensions between urban and rural, domestic and foreign, and wealth and poverty.

My dissertation examines the environmental and philanthropic work of Uruguayan rancher Alberto Gallinal Heber (1909-1994) in improving agricultural productivity and social well-being in the Uruguayan countryside.

Selected Publications

Newspapers, Magazines, and Radio:

El País (Uruguay), “Túnez, un país espejo al otro lado del mundo” (November 2017)

Semanario Búsqueda, “Uruguay Según los Extranjeros” (February 2016)

The Register-Guard, “Pot, gay marriage barely make a stir in Uruguay” (July 2015)

Roads and Kingdoms, “The Raiders of Ruta 7” (July 2015)

Lvblcity, “Malmö: The Many Faces of the European City” (June 2015)

IBWM, “A cast of characters: Why la Celeste stands unique” (February 2015)

WBEZ, “How the Dan Ryan Changed the South Side” (June 2013)

Media Appearances:

El País (Uruguay), “Vino desde EE.UU. y Cerro Chato le hizo conocer otro Uruguay” (March 2019)

BBC, “Are these the worst ring roads in England” (April 2014)

Grants & Awards

2019 UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship

2018-19 UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship

2018-19 UCLA Geography Department Travel Grant

2018 Honorable Mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

2014 Fulbright U.S. Student

2013 NCGE/AAG Excellence of Scholarship Award

2012 Undergraduate Travel Grant, Nicholson Center for British Studies, The University of Chicago

2012 Ann Natunewicz Travel Grant, Committee on Geographical Studies, The University of Chicago

Advisors

Stephen Bell, chair

Judith Carney

John Agnew

William Summerhill (History)