International development scholar Ananya Roy will lead a new institute examining inequality and democracy at UCLA Luskin as its inaugural director, Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., announced today. Roy’s appointment is effective July 1, 2015.
Roy’s charge at the new institute will be to oversee a multifaceted program of research, training, and public outreach operating at the nexus of democracy, social justice and governance/political participation. The project is a major initiative of UCLA Luskin’s five-point strategic plan, adopted in the wake of the $50 million naming gift from Meyer and Renee Luskin to UCLA’s School of Public Affairs in 2011.
Roy comes to UCLA from the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as a professor of city and regional planning and distinguished chair in global poverty and practice. She was also the education director at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. In 2010 The New Yorker called her “one of Berkeley’s star teachers,” and in 2006 she earned the Distinguished Teaching Award, the college’s highest faculty teaching honor, and the Distinguished Faculty Mentorship Award.
“I am thrilled to welcome Ananya to UCLA Luskin as the head of the institute,” Dean Gilliam said. “Her creativity, collaborative spirit and impeccable academic credentials are an exact match for the positive change inherent in this new endeavor, and I know she will serve as an inspiration to our faculty and students.”
With research interests ranging from social theory to comparative urban studies, Roy has dedicated much of her scholarship to exploring and understanding the formation of geopolitical hierarchies. Her book Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development won the 2011 Paul Davidoff Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, given for books that promote participatory planning and positive social change. She is also the author of City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty and co-editor of Urban Informality: Transnational Perspectives from the Middle East, South Asia, and Latin America; The Practice of International Health; and Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global.
Projects under her direction have received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Social Sciences Research Council, the Ford Foundation, USAID and others. Roy’s service on editorial boards includes the publications Public Culture and Territory, Politics and Governance, among many others.
As the institute builds an interdisciplinary approach to solving societal problems and leveraging the work of our three departments and across the campus, Roy’s previous experience at the University of California will play a key role. As the founding chair of Berkeley’s undergraduate program in global poverty and practice, she led a field of study that brings together hundreds of students from over 30 majors to understand the challenges of global poverty through creativity and practical experience. She also served as chair of the urban studies major, which takes a holistic approach to designing a new, humane approach to urbanism for a global populace.
At UCLA Luskin, Roy will hold an endowed chair provided by Meyer and Renee Luskin. Born in Calcutta, she earned her master’s and doctoral degrees at Berkeley and took her bachelor’s at Mills College.