María Ignacia Jeldes Olivares
on parental leave | Contemporary History and Archive

In January 2021 María Jeldes started working as a research associate in the Freigeist-Fellowship project „Conquering (with) Concrete: German Construction Companies as Global Players in Local Contexts“ funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. As part of this project, she writes her PhD thesis on international construction projects of German companies with a regional focus on Latin American countries.

Prior to joining the IRS, María Jeldes graduated as a Master of Regional Planning at Cornell University and as a M.Sc. in Governance of Risk and Resources at Universität Heidelberg. Before that, she completed her B.A. in Sociology at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. In her master’s thesis she examined the influence of corporate actors from the mining industry in urban and territorial governance of Chilean cities. Between 2017 and 2020 she worked at the Centro de Políticas Públicas UC on applied research projects and knowledge transfer for public decision-making.


Ongoing Third-party Funded Projects

Global construction companies impact our futures. Beyond the edifices and infrastructures they construct, they also fundamentally influence governmental development aid policies, or dislocate people to build a new dam, for example. Yet the role of these major global players and their persistent presence in different world regions has barely been reflected upon. Our project investigates how major German construction companies conquered markets and spaces, thereby cementing their presence in different regions of the Global South, and it will trace the footprints left behind, long after the dust of the construction sites settled. It draws on the observation that it is impossible to fully understand the complexity of the built environment in these regions without acknowledging and analysing the role of construction companies such as HOCHTIEF AG or Bilfinger Berger as actors, stakeholders, transnational legal entities and major driving forces in the processes of globalised construction business. more info

Ongoing Cross-departmental Projects

The bridge project "Disruption and spatial development: concepts on spatio-temporal dynamics, modes of perception and strategies of action" continues the conceptual elaboration of the disruption heuristic, uses it to interpret empirical findings in the lead project research (and beyond) and, conversely, incorporates suggestions from the empirical research of the lead projects into the further conceptual development. more info


DGNet20238. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Netzwerkforschung

8. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Netzwerkforschung

Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

The Materiality and Constructability of the Subway in Buenos Aires (1933–1944)

Materiality and the History of Infrastructure

Herrenhausen Symposium, Hannover, Germany

Materialities of the Construction Process: International Contractors and the Subway in Buenos Aires

Material Assemblages

Herrenhausen Palace, Hannover, Germany