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Essays Capture Legacy of L.A. Historian Mike Davis

The journal Human Geography published a collection of essays curated by UCLA Luskin Urban Planning to honor author, activist and Los Angeles historian Mike Davis. Ananya Roy, the professor of urban planning, social welfare and geography who directs the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, wrote an introduction to the collection, which arose from a convening of L.A. scholars at the Luskin School a few months after Davis’ death in October 2022. As Roy writes, “the gathering continued late into the evening as scholars of different generations, from distinguished professors to undergraduate students, celebrated all that we have each, and collectively, learned from Mike Davis.” The essay collection emphasizes that while Davis “saw and found struggle in the many terrains of catastrophe that he analyzed so prophetically,” he was neither a pessimist nor a defeatist. Roy’s essay “A political autopsy of Liberal Los Angeles” also appears in the collection, along with “Planetarity and environmentalisms: the invention of new environmental histories from the Ecology of Fear to Victorian Holocausts” by urban planning professor Susanna Hecht; “The poet of L.A.’s urban” by urban planning professor Michael Storper; “Old school socialist” by UCLA history professor Robin D.G. Kelley; “To Los Angeles: United in Grief, United in Struggle” by post-doctoral scholar Deshonay Dozier; and “Lessons in accumulated rage and rebellious scholarship” by USC professor Juan De Lara.


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