Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography and The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is inaugural Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA, which promotes research and scholarship concerned with displacement and dispossession in Los Angeles and and seeks to build power to make social change. Previously she was on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where she received her Master’s in City Planning (1994) and Ph.D. in Urban Planning (1999).
Ananya’s research and scholarship has a determined focus on poverty and inequality. Her work has focused on urban transformations and land grabs in the global South as well as on global capital and predatory financialization. Her books include City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty; Urban Informality: Transnational Perspectives from the Middle East, South, Asia, and Latin America; Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global; Territories of Poverty: Rethinking North and South; and most recently, Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World. With enduring theoretical commitments to postcolonial critique, feminist thought, and critical race studies, she is concerned with challenging the Eurocentrism of urban studies and other canons of knowledge and forging theory and pedagogy attentive to historical difference.
Three research and policy priorities are central to Ananya’s current commitments. First, she leads a National Science Foundation funded research network on Housing Justice in Unequal Cities. Building a shared terrain of scholarship across universities and movements, this network is concerned with advancing ideas, practices, programs, and policies of housing justice in Los Angeles as well as in other cities of the world. Second, Ananya’s research is concerned with “racial banishment,” the pushing out of working-class communities of color from urban cores to the far peripheries of metropolitan regions. In collaboration with housing justice lawyers and movements in Los Angeles, she studies the role of municipal ordinances in such processes of banishment. Third, since 2017, she has been actively involved in scholarship about sanctuary cities and cities of refuge. As evident in her recent article, The City in the Age of Trumpism: From Sanctuary to Abolition (Environment and Planning D), she seeks to expand practices of welcome and hospitality in order to take account of the long histories of settler-colonialism, imperialism, and slavery.
Keenly aware that building and reshaping fields of inquiry requires collective labor, Ananya has served on the editorial boards and collectives of various journals in urban studies and planning. She now serves as Editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Along with Clare Talwalker at the University of California, Berkeley, she is the founding editor of the book series, Poverty, Interrupted, with the University of California Press. Interested in how academics can speak to public audiences, Ananya has also experimented with digital and social media to conceptualize and produce the #GlobalPOV video series, a series of short videos that provoke questions about poverty, inequality, and poverty action.
Ananya is the recipient of several awards including the Paul Davidoff book award, which recognizes scholarship that advances social justice, for Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development, and the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching recognition that the University of California, Berkeley bestows on its faculty. She was named “California Professor of the Year,” an award of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. In 2011, Ananya received the Excellence in Achievement award of the Cal Alumni Association, a lifetime achievement award which celebrated her contributions to the University of California and public sphere.