Professor, UCLA (Luskin School of Public Affairs)
Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning and Social Welfare and inaugural Director of The Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin. She holds The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy. Previously she was on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where she founded and played a leadership role in several academic programs, centers, and divisions, including Urban Studies, Global Metropolitan Studies, International and Area Studies, Blum Center for Developing Economies, and Global Poverty and Practice. At UC Berkeley, Ananya held the Distinguished Chair in Global Poverty and Practice and prior to that, the Friesen Chair in Urban Studies. Ananya has a B.A. (1992) in Comparative Urban Studies from Mills College, a M.C.P. (1994) and a Ph.D. (1999) from the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley.
Ananya’s scholarship has focused on urban transformations in the global South, with particular attention to the making of “world-class” cities and the dispossessions and displacements that are thus wrought. Her books on this topic include City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty and Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global, the latter co-edited with Aihwa Ong. A separate line of inquiry has been concerned with new regimes of international development, especially those that seek to convert poverty into entrepreneurial capitalism and the economies of the poor into new markets for global finance. Her authored book on this subject, Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development, was the recipient of the 2011 Paul Davidoff award, which recognizes urban planning scholarship that advances social justice. Her latest book is, Territories of Poverty: Rethinking North and South, co-edited with Emma Shaw Crane. Ananya’s ongoing research examines what she calls the “urban land question”, in India, as well as in globally interconnected nodes across North and South. Her emphasis is on how poor people’s movements challenge evictions and foreclosures, thereby creating political openings for new legal and policy frameworks for the use and management of urban land.
Trained as an urban planner, Ananya is critical of ideas and practices that at best ignore, and at worst, perpetuate urbanisms of inequality and separation. However, that critique is inextricably linked to her belief that planning, and related professions, play a central role in the production of space. To this end, she has convened various projects that seek to further imaginations and practices of social justice. These include a three year initiative focused on the urban policies of the Government of India, “The 21st Century Indian City”, in collaboration with the Centre for Policy Research in India, and “The Urban Inequality and Poverty Collaborative”, which thinks across India, Brazil, and South Africa to examine and expand the potentialities of social welfare in an ascendant but unequal global South.