As an antiquarian, Rachel Du Mont-Greenlee grew up knowing she’d incorporate history into her career, studying ancient civilizations and the physical, cerebral, and social jewels they left behind. During her studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where Du Mont-Greenlee earned her bachelor’s degree in City and Regional Planning, Du Mont- Greenlee realized her passion for architecture and urban forms, physical spaces that bridge cultures and enable sociality.
After working several years in public and private sector urban planning, Du Mont-Greenlee returned to academia, earning her master’s degree in Social Anthropology from Goldsmiths College, University of London. At Goldsmiths, she wrote anthropological ethnographies including the following topics: how sense of place authenticity relays to mental experiences in restaurants, and an auto-ethnographic piece on the South Orange County suburbs that moves between architecture and people and sets an analogy between the making of homes and the making of housewives, informed by classic feminist theory.
To better understand the politics of place, place authenticity, historical remembrance through spatial awareness, and architecture’s construction of sociality, she spent a year and a half researching urban trends during the coronavirus pandemic in London, England. Du Mont- Greenlee compared her social findings that society underwent gentrification of the mind amid the pandemic to the gentrification of urban places, including Shoreditch, London. In doing so, she found that anything—even longstanding architectural bastions once revered for their ingenuity could be erased or forgotten. Much like the books of old burned for their revolutionary messages.
While not sculpted from brick and mortar or concrete or wood, the written word weathers time as do the architectural wonders of the world. Both are fragile, capable of crumbling in a moment, but both transcend time and remind humankind of history.
Touched equally by the lives of collapsed civilizations as those breathing alongside her today, Du Mont-Greenlee believes the marvels humans create reflect the soul of humankind. These ideas inspire the non-fiction articles she writes for Coffee House Writers and her fiction manuscript Edge of Worlds.