Ananya Roy

Founding Director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy
Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography
The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy


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 the founding Director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy.

Ananya is a scholar of global racial capitalism and postcolonial development whose research is concerned with the political economy and politics of dispossession and displacement. With theoretical commitments to postcolonial studies, Black studies, and feminist theory, she seeks to shift conceptual frameworks and methodologies in urban studies to take account of the colonial-racial logics that structure space and place. As a researcher, Ananya strives to advance research justice, by which she means accountability to communities directly impacted by state-organized violence. At the very heart of her work is an insistence on the transformation of the public university – through teaching, public scholarship, and community engagement – so that it can be a force for social justice.

Ananya’s work has focused on urban transformations and land grabs as well as on global capital and predatory financialization. Her current research is concerned with “racial banishment,” the expulsion of working-class communities of color from cities through racialized policing and other forms of dispossession. Such work is reflected in her scholarship on property, personhood, and police, which studies policing as a race-making project, as well as in her role as convener of the After Echo Park Lake research collective, which studies displacement in Los Angeles.

Ananya leads a National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network on Housing Justice in Unequal Cities.  Along with colleagues at UCLA, Ananya has convened the Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar on Sanctuary Spaces: Reworlding Humanism, which is concerned with the place of racial others in liberal democracy. Situating transnational inquiry and solidarity at the present moment of resurgent white nationalism and xenophobia, the Sanctuary Spaces project challenges Western humanism and foregrounds alternative frameworks of freedom and justice.

Ananya was Editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research from 2016 to 2020. She is the 2020 Freedom Scholar, an award bestowed by the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Group Health Foundation to social justice leaders and the 2022 recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Geneva.


Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World

by Ananya Roy, Kweku Opoku-Agyemang, Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales, and Clare Talwalker (Authors) via University of California Press

Territories of Poverty: Rethinking North and South

by Ananya Roy and Emma Shaw Crane (Editors) via University of Georgia Press

Worlding Cities: Asian Urban Experiments and the Art of Being Global

by Ananya Roy and Aihwa Ong (Editors) via Wiley Blackwell

City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty

by Ananya Roy (Author) via University of Minnesota Press