Sarah Lopez is a built environment historian, as well as a migration scholar. Lopez' research focuses on material histories of US-Mexico migration. Her first book, The Remittance Landscape: The Spaces of Migration in Rural Mexico and Urban USA , explores the impact of migrant remittances—dollars earned in the U.S. and sent to families and communities in Mexico—on the architecture and landscape of "rural" Mexico and "urban" USA.
Lopez is currently working on two book projects. One examines the long history of migrant incarceration in the U.S. from the docks of Ellis Island to the privately run mega-detention facilities in rural Texas. The second book project tracks the development over the last fifty years of a network of Mexican stonemasons, quarry workers, homebuilders, architects, and businessmen who primarily provide services to Mexican and Mexican-American clientele in the American Southwest.
Lopez’ research and teaching interests include architectural and urban histories of the Americas, the history and interface between migration, architecture, and cities, the use of interdisciplinary methods (including ethnography) to study space and society, and spatial and urban justice. Lopez has been awarded a Princeton-Mellon fellowship in Architecture, Urbanism, & the Humanities; a Dumbarton Oaks fellowship in Urban Landscape Studies (Harvard affiliate); a Center for the Study of Visual Arts (CASVA) fellowship; and her book, The Remittance Landscape, won the 2017 Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians.