Samuel Monroe Hellmann
Field: Chinese Literature, Media, and Cinema
Advisor: Ying Qian and Lydia Liu
Sam Hellmann is a PhD student of modern Chinese literature, media, and cinema. He is interested in architecture and urban design projects of the Maoist period, seeking to situate these spatial interventions alongside other revolutionary design movements abroad in order to understand the PRC’s translation and understanding of concepts like capitalism, socialism, nationalism, and internationalism as they change alongside transformations in the built environment. Before coming to Columbia, Sam earned a BA in history from McGill University and an MA in political theory from the CUNY Graduate Center. His MA thesis examines the Beijing Department Store as a “dialectical image:” a site that crystalizes the contradictory social relations and temporalities of the First Five-Year Plan, as well as a site whose continued existence in the physical space of Beijing highlights lost global connections and past formulations of the commodity form under socialism. Sam’s other research interests include political economy, critical theory, and intellectual history.