• Research & Activism

OUR PROGRAMS & PROJECTS

Convening multiple disciplines, narrative forms, and styles of scholarship and practice, the Institute aims to advance its mission by mobilizing students and faculty to envision a platform from which to explore social justice through research, critical thought, and alliances with social movements & racial justice activism.

HOUSING JUSTICE IN #UNEQUALCITIES NETWORK

The Institute is home to the Housing Justice in #UnequalCities Network, a research coordination network funded by the National Science Foundation (BCS 1758774). It brings together research communities whose work analyzes key geographies of housing precarity (evictions, homelessness, displacement, segregation, informal settlements) and examines established and emergent practices of housing justice (eviction blockades, community land trusts, housing cooperatives and commons, tenant organizing, homeless unions, social rent, land value tax). In doing so, it consolidates housing justice as a field of inquiry and sets the stage for future research in geography and urban studies.

UCLA ACTIVIST-IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM

With a shared commitment to advance democracy through research and alliances with civil rights organizations and progressive social movements, the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center partner annually to offer the UCLA Activist-in-Residence program. Our objective is to help sustain the activists, artists, and public intellectuals involved in the work of social change.

Micah White

Activist Educator

Yusef Omowale

Archivist

Tanzila Ahmed

Storyteller

STUDENT PROJECTS & OPPORTUNITIES

The Institute on Inequality and Democracy supports UCLA graduate students who undertake collective work related to at least one of the Institute’s research themes. Products should demonstrate an explicit public orientation, i.e. an intent of speaking to public issues and/or addressing audiences that lie beyond the university. The Institute is especially interested in projects that organize knowledge to challenge inequality, be it by questioning established academic wisdom, contributing to public debate, or impacting policy decisions.

UCLA Graduate Student Working Group Projects

Graduate Student Working Groups 2018-19

  • Travis Bott, Alexis Coopersmith, Joel Herrera, Nihal Kayali – Geography, Sociology. Political Sociology and the Global South
  • Lorraine Perales, Samantha Piedra – Social Welfare, Public Policy. Reanalyzing the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977
  • Dian Tri Irawaty, Fernanda Jahn-Verri, Jaehyeon (Jay) Park – Geography, Urban Planning. Discussing Landscapes of Property

Graduate Student Working Groups 2017-18

  • Skye Allmang, Rebecca Crane, Feliz Quinones – Social Welfare, Urban Planning, Education. Resistance through Research: Graduate Student Working Group on Social Justice + Activism in the Trump Era
  • Christina Chica, Emma Colven, Matías Fernández, Joel Herrera – Sociology and Geography. Political Sociology and the Global South
  • C. Aujean Lee, Rachel Wells, Silvia Gonzalez – Urban Planning, Social Welfare. Social Protections in the New Administration: Nonprofit Responses Amidst Political Changes

Graduate Student Working Groups 2016-17

  • Eve Bachrach, Gina Charusombat, Amman Desai, Julia Heidelman, Lawrence Lan, Jacklyn Oh, Xochitl Ortiz, Carolyn Vera, Estefania Zavala – Urban Planning and Asian American Studies. Our Hoods, Our Stories: Documenting Displacement in Boyle Heights and Chinatown
  • Kenton Card, Matías Fernández, Andrew N. Le – Urban Planning and Sociology. Political Sociology and the Global South Working Group
  • Hannah Carlan, Nafis Hasan, Tanya Matthan, Nivedita Nath, Gabriel Locke Suchodolski – Anthropology, History, and Sociology. Welfare Workings: Popular Politics and the Public in Contemporary India

UCLA Graduate Student Working Groups – Call for Proposals

  • Application deadline: Friday, May 31, 2019 at 5:00pm
  • Funding decision: Mid-June: Funds available for use beginning July 1, 2019 and must be expended by June 30, 2020
  • Award amount: Up to $1,000

The Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin invites applications from UCLA graduate students who aim to expand the mission of the Institute and apply for grants to support research related to the Institute’s key research themes:

  • Housing Justice in Unequal Cities
  • Debt and Predatory Financialization
  • Policing and Incarceration
  • Decolonizing the University

ELIGIBILITY:
Registered UCLA graduate students groups, with preference given to UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs groups. Each team must be comprised of at least three UCLA graduate students drawn from at least two different UCLA departments. Luskin graduate students must attend a student event training provided by the Luskin School’s Director of Events and indicate the date of training.

CRITERIA:
Students must apply for support in one of the following ways:

  1. Graduate student working groups to undertake a year-long plan of collective work related to one of the
    research themes and which demonstrates an explicit public orientation, i.e. an intent of speaking to public
    issues and/or addressing audiences that lie beyond the university. Given the scope and purpose of the
    Institute, we are especially interested in projects that organize knowledge to challenge inequality, be it by
    questioning established academic wisdom, or contributing to public debate, or having an impact on a policy
    decision.
  2. Registered student groups develop events or formats of public scholarship that allow distribution or
    dissemination of work to relevant audiences. We welcome a variety of formats, including the development
    of curriculum and pedagogy, artistic performance, creative writing, opinion pieces, and social science peer-
    reviewed publication.

AWARDS:
Successful proposals may be funded in full or in part at the discretion of the review committee. The review committee will be made up of UCLA faculty and members of the Institute’s community and social movement partners. Funding will be for one year with the possibility of renewal through a new proposal competition next year. Projects that are selected must acknowledge the Institute on Inequality at UCLA Luskin on all collateral, public information materials, social media, and publications resulting from the award.

UCLA Luskin Graduate Student Capstone Awards – Call for Proposals

  • Application deadline: Applications are now closed
  • Funding decision: Mid-January 2019
  • Award amount: Up to $2,500

The Institute is offering the Graduate Research Grant application for UCLA Luskin students’ research and capstone projects. This application is jointly offered by the Institute on Inequality and Democracy, Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, Luskin Center for Innovation, and Global Public Affairs/Hildebrand Fellowship for Canadian Studies Program. The Institute will be looking to support research that aligns with at least one of its key research themes:

  • Housing Justice in Unequal Cities – Marginalized communities face repeated displacement and evictions. Focusing on Los Angeles, and connecting the U.S. experience to India, Brazil, South Africa, and Spain, our research sheds light on geographies of exclusion and segregation and pays attention to histories of dispossession. Working with social movements, we seek to build organizing frameworks and policy strategies for housing justice.
  • Debt and Predatory Financialization – In the United States, working-class and middle-class households are burdened with pervasive debt to pay for basic needs, from health to education.  Our research situates debt in the global context of predatory financialization and shows how debt works as a form of economic extraction. Our intent is to build platforms of knowledge and action that expose and dismantle debt peonage.
  • Policing and Incarceration – The criminalization of poverty is a persistent feature of liberal democracies. We are concerned with public investment in carcerality, be it the juvenile justice system or municipal ordinances targeting the poor. Through research, performance art, and radical pedagogy, we examine structures of incarceration in Los Angeles and seek to abolish the racialized policing of black and brown communities.

UCLA Graduate Student Event Support – Call for Proposals

  • Application deadline: Considered on a rolling basis until funding is depleted – applications must be submitted at least ONE MONTH in advance of planned event
  • Funding decision: Student groups will receive a decision within ten business days
  • Award amount: Up to $500

The Institute invites applications from registered UCLA graduate student groups across campus who are interested in producing events that support II&D’s mission. Specifically, the event must be produced in alliance with at least one other registered student group and should highlight at least one of the Institute’s key research
themes:

  • Housing Justice in Unequal Cities
  • Debt and Predatory Financialization
  • Policing and Incarceration
  • Decolonizing the University

ELIGIBILITY:

  • Support is awarded to registered UCLA graduate student groups, open to both Luskin and non-Luskin
    student groups.
  • Event must be produced in alliance with at least one other registered student group.
  • The proposed event must take place during the current academic year.
  • Awardees must list the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin as a sponsor on all collateral and outreach materials (i.e., flyers, shared photos, social media, etc.) and must share event flyer and general event description with Institute staff.
  • Awardees must provide a short post-event report or summary within two weeks for the Institute to share on its website and social media.
  • UCLA Luskin groups only: A member of your team or alliance must attend or must have previously attended a student event training organized by the Luskin School’s Director of Events.

NOTE: This support is not intended for individual research projects or coursework.

UCLA Graduate Student Advisory Board - Application

  • Application deadline: This year’s Student Advisory Board has been selected. Applications will be open for the 2019-20 academic year in September 2019.

The Institute invites graduate students to join its Student Advisory Board for a term of one year beginning in Fall 2018. Students should have interest and/or expertise in issues related to this year’s research themes and should be invested in collaborating with faculty and students across disciplines, including the social sciences, arts & media, and the humanities. The 2018-19 research themes:

  • Housing Justice in Unequal Cities
  • Debt and Predatory Financialization
  • Policing and Incarceration
  • Decolonizing the University

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Attend Student Advisory Board meetings.
  • Produce original content for the Institute’s website (e.g. compose compelling stories featuring activists and/or community partners; write event recaps and reports; produce video shorts and/or podcasts related to the Institute’s research themes).
  • Provide guidance in the selection process for Institute sponsored programs and events.
  • Volunteer to staff the Institute’s quarterly events.
  • Support the Institute’s work by way of outreach to community partners to build and foster productive working relationships.
  • Follow and promote the Institute’s social media.

UCLA Graduate Student Working Group – Room Reservations

FACULTY PROJECTS & OPPORTUNITIES

The Institute on Inequality and Democracy supports UCLA faculty whose research is developed in partnership with social movements and community-based organizing. Research framework explicitly addresses how university-movement collaborations might be built and sustained. More ambitiously, we are interested in how such collaborations can generate new formats of research, be it the research questions that are posed, the data that is collected, or how research is distributed and disseminated.

UCLA Faculty Seed Grant Projects

UCLA Faculty Seed Grants 2018-19

  • Hannah Appel, Anthropology. Tools, Clinics, Platforms: Building Toward a Public Launch
  • Cesar Ayala, Sociology. Debt and Social Crisis in a U.S. Colony
  • Amy Ritterbusch, Social Welfare. ‘Pintela, Que Yo Se La Coloreo’
  • Marike Splint, Theater, Film and Television. The Biography of a Home
  • Alicia Virani, Law. Knowledge is Power: Empower Youth in the Juvenile Justice System Through Popular Education

UCLA Faculty Seed Grants 2017-18

  • Hannah Appel, Anthropology. From Particular Injustices to the Systemic Fight: Building the Power of Debtors Unions
  • Bryonn Bain, African American Studies. What It Iz and the Beyond the Bars Conference
  • Paul M. Ong, Urban Planning and Asian American Studies. Protest and Progress: South LA Since the Kerner Report
  • Noah Zatz, Law. Between Prison and Precarity: LA Warehouse Workers and the Probation/Staffing Agency Nexus

UCLA Faculty Seed Grants 2016-17

  • Laura Abrams, Social Welfare. Global Youth Justice: Defining Criminal Responsibility in Law and Practice
  • Randall Akee, Public Policy. Income Inequality and Income Mobility for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
  • Hannah Appel, Anthropology. Who Owes What to Whom? From For-Profit Colleges to Payday Lenders: Next Steps in the Debtors Movement
  • Caroline Ford, History. The Paris Housing Crisis and the Campaign for Affordable Housing, 1894-1940
  • Kelly Lytle Hernandez, African-American Studies and History. Community Experiences on Million-Dollar Blocks in Los Angeles
  • Helga Leitner and Eric Sheppard, Geography. Land, Livelihoods and Displacement in Indonesia
  • Michael Lens and Paavo Monkkonen, Urban Planning. Evidence of Expulsion: Documenting Eviction Rates for Research and Advocacy
  • Noah Zatz, Law. The New Debt Peonage: Court-Ordered Community Service in LA County

UCLA Faculty Seed Grants – Call for Proposals

  • Application deadline: Friday, May 31, 2019 at 5:00pm
  • Funding decision: Mid-June: Funds available for use beginning July 1, 2019 and must be expended by June 30, 2020
  • Award amount: Up to $10,000
  • The Institute on Inequality and Democracy (II&D) invites applications from UCLA faculty for grants to support research related to II&D’s key research themes:
    • Housing Justice in Unequal Cities
    • Debt and Predatory Financialization
    • Policing and IncarcerationDecolonizing the University

ELIGIBILITY:
All UCLA faculty are eligible to apply either on an individual basis or as a research team. In the case of the latter, the application must indicate a lead researcher.

CRITERIA:
Projects must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Research developed in partnership with social movements and community-based organizing. The Institute welcomes all quantitative and qualitative research and evidence-based methodologies but ask that the research framework explicitly address how university-movement collaborations might be built and sustained. More ambitiously, we are interested in how such collaborations can generate new formats of research, be it the research questions that are posed, or the data that is collected, or how research is distributed and disseminated.
  2. The Institute’s mandate is to organize knowledge to challenge inequality and welcomes research that advances critical thinking and that can make a decisive conceptual contribution to the topic at hand. We are especially interested in research that can demonstrate how “organizing knowledge” can challenge established academic wisdom, contribute to public debate, or have impact on a policy decision. We welcome projects that express a strong point of view and that dare to think beyond conventional norms.
  3. The Institute’s work has a global scope. Whether the research is located in a single neighborhood or concerned with translocal networks, we hope to highlight the global forces that might be at work in the processes and struggles at hand. We thus encourage research that has such a critical imagination, be it located in global Los Angeles or elsewhere.
  4. We ask that the research have a public orientation, i.e. an intent of speaking to public issues and/or addressing audiences that lie beyond the university. With this in mind, we welcome various genres of scholarship, including artistic performance, opinion pieces, creative writing, policy-oriented briefs, and social science peer-reviewed publication.

We require a short project update/summary by April 1, 2020. Projects that were awarded grants must acknowledge the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin in all programs, public information materials, and publications resulting from the grant.

NOTE:
Faculty with current grants from the Institute who wish to apply for an additional year of funding must clearly demonstrate the research findings and conceptual contributions generated by the first round of funding and indicate how the second year of funding will be used to disseminate these findings. This should include a detailed discussion of which audiences will be the focus of dissemination and the expected impacts of such dissemination.

AWARDS:
Successful proposals may be funded in full or in part at the discretion of the review committee. The review committee will be made up of UCLA faculty and members of the Institute’s community and social movement partners. Funding will be for one year with the possibility of renewal through a new proposal competition next year. Faculty awards will be dispersed after notification of award.