Our Mission

The UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy advances research and scholarship concerned with displacement and dispossession in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the world. Working in alliance with social movements and communities on the frontlines of struggle, the Institute seeks to abolish structures of inequality.

Our Research & Programs


In the face of market-led and state-organized housing precarity, we insist upon housing justice. Thinking from Los Angeles, and other key global nodes of insurgency, our research and scholarship reveals the actors, systems, and institutions that perpetuate housing exploitation. Working with tenant movements and unhoused communities, we aim to dismantle police-property relations and reconstruct housing as a reparative public good.

Future of

Exploitative financial relationships subtend trans/national inequities including racial capitalism, imperialism, settler colonialism, neocolonialism, and climate catastrophe. Other worlds are possible, and they will require other financial systems, institutions, and relationships. With scholars from social movements and academia, we bring together knowledge producers committed to theorizing and enacting these worlds.


Situated at the present historical moment of resurgent white nationalism and xenophobia, Sanctuary Spaces, a Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar, is concerned with the place of racial others–the border-crosser, the asylum-seeker, the refugee–in liberal democracy. With a critical lens around histories of colonial dispossession and racial capitalism, the project thinks across Europe and the U.S. to interrogate Western humanism and foreground alternative frameworks of freedom and justice.

UCLA Activist-

The UCLA Activist-in-Residence program seeks to strengthen the infrastructure of social transformation by supporting local movement leaders, community organizers, and artists with university resources. Conceptualized as a sabbatical, the residency allows for time and space to reflect upon complex challenges, envision new campaigns and projects, and connect with university faculty, students, and staff.

Our Methodology

Our work is guided by research justice and its principles of accountability and reciprocity. Refusing modes of extractive research, we take up homework from movements and communities and build spaces of collective inquiry for the purpose of analyzing and challenging racial capitalism.


Founding Faculty Director


Associate Faculty Director


Associate Faculty Director


Faculty Advisor