Featured Alumna, Eve Avdoulos

A woman in front of Cambridge's red door.
Miss Avdoulos in front of Cambridge’s famous Red Door after submitting her PhD dissertation.

Eve Avdoulos graduated from Michigan State University in 2012 with her degree in anthropology, going on to graduate from the University of Cambridge with a Master of Philosophy in 2013. In July of 2019, she will receive her Doctor of Philosophy from Cambridge where she was a researcher at the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research located within the Department of Architecture. Currently, she is applying to various postdoctoral and public sector positions.

Ms. Avdoulos’ PhD, submitted in September 2018, investigated the complexities and contradictions of the phenomenon of urban decline. Through the study of Detroit and a close reading of two residential urban neighborhoods, she examined the development of urban decline over time, as well as how this phenomenon has differentially affected social patterns and practices within the city. By highlighting a methodological approach focused on the everyday lived experience of the city, she illustrated how decline should be regarded as a process that actively transforms the urban environment by dismantling and disassembling existing spatial and social networks and infrastructures, while, creating new ones.

Eve is particularly interested in the socio-political and cultural aspects of urban environments and the ways built environments influence the human condition. At the root of her work is a desire to better understand the human condition to strengthen equity, inclusion, and diversity in our ever-growing urban areas. She enjoys teaching because it allows her an opportunity to engage students in critical thinking and discussion, to help students discover their passions and motivations and to instill the skills and confidence to pursue their personal and professional goals. She feels fortunate for her incredible teachers at MSU who taught her these things as well as instilling a love of fieldwork. Ms. Avdoulos believes fieldwork offers members of the community a chance to share their own stories and experiences in ways they were previously unable to do so.

woman presenting in front of a group of people
Eve presents her research at Centre for Urban Conflicts Research at Cambridge

During her time at MSU, she was actively involved with the Department of Anthropology through volunteering in the archaeology lab, attending an archaeological field school in Greece as part of a study abroad program, working at the MSU Archives & Historical Collections and participating in the Campus Archaeology Field School. Each of these experiences provided her with the foundational skills needed to achieve success in graduate school and prepared her for a career in academia and research. Eve first got interested in anthropology through her fascination with ancient cultures and the material remains of their societies. Upon a family trip to Rome, Florence, and Pompeii, she became spellbound by the incredible feats of human ingenuity and knew upon being accepted to Michigan State that she wanted to pursue an Anthropology degree to further study her interest in the human condition.

Her current department, The Centre for Urban Conflicts Research within the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge is dedicated to investigating cities experiencing conflict, including those caused by ethnicity, nationalism, religion, class, or race. The Centre maintains an interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary approach and is comprised of individuals from a variety of backgrounds including anthropology, architecture, geography, and history. The diversity of research undertaken by those working at the Centre exposed Eve to a wide range of global urban issues.

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