• Research & 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.

FACULTY RESEARCH

The UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy invites proposals from UCLA faculty for grants to support research and pedagogy related to the Institute’s key research themes. We are especially interested in research, scholarship, and/or teaching that demonstrates how “organizing knowledge” can challenge established academic wisdom, contribute to public debate, and/or build power for communities and movements.

A More Public Resilience? On Housing Justice and Climate Justice

Kian Goh, Urban Planning, UCLA

UC Extreme Sentencing Project

Grace K. Hong, Gender Studies & Asian American Studies, UCLA

Discourse and Dispossession: Culture, Language, and Black and Indigenous Freedom Dreams in Detroit

Kyle T. Mays, African American Studies & American Indian Studies, UCLA

UCLA ACTIVIST-IN-RESIDENCE

With a shared commitment to advance democracy through research and alliances with civil rights organizations and progressive social movements, the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy 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.

Leonardo Vilchis

Community Organizer

Elizabeth Blaney

Community Organizer

Jane Nguyen

Community Organizer

STUDENT RESEARCH

Graduate student working groups undertake a year-long plan of collective work related to one of the research themes. Working groups are encouraged to speak to public issues and/or address audiences that lie beyond the university. They aim to question established academic wisdom, contribute to public debate, and/or have an impact on policy.

Graduate Student Working Groups Spring & Summer 2020

    • Yamillet Brizuela, Sami Bhusal, Laura Daza Garcia, Spike Friedman, Olivia Miller, Breigh Montgomery, Alicia Morales Perez, Amy Young, Amy Zhou – Public Policy, Social Welfare, Urban Planning. UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy Student Advisory Board
    • Lupe Cazares-Meyers, Nathan Cheung, Paola Lopez – Latin American Studies. Hand in Hand LA
    • Cynthia Bourjac, Irene Farr, Alejandro Gonzalez, Andres Gonzalez, Demetria Murphy – Urban Planning. Planners of Color for Social Equity
    • Thabisile Griffin, LeighAnna Hidalgo, Rosanna Simons – Chicana/o Studies,Central American Studies. People 4 People/Gente por Gente
    • Bernice López, Jodi E. Scofield, Stephanie Ruiz – Social Welfare.Reimagining Social Welfare-An Abolitionist Framework
    • Ary Hansen, Sam Lutzker, Kartik Raj – Sociology, Law.Palms Unhoused Mutual Aid (PUMA-LA)

Graduate Student Working Groups 2019-20

    • Carlie Domingues, AnMarie Mendoza, Carolyn Rodriguez –American Indian Studies. California Indian Graduate Student Working Group
    • Maritza Geronimo, Lauren Ilano, Kimberly Miranda – Chicana/o Studies, Education and Information Studies, Geography. Contra Mapping: A Series on Decolonizing Cartography for Community Resistance
    • Dian Tri Irawaty, Fernanda Jahn-Verri, Jaehyeon (Jay) Park – Geography, Urban Planning. Discussing Land Titling and Property Rights in the Global South
    • Jason Anthony Plummer, Marcel Roman, Tye Rush – Political Science, Social Welfare. Divesting in Communities of Color: The Long-Term Effects of Redlining on Political Capital and Community Development
    • Naveen Agrawal, Spike Friedman, Dickran Jebejian, Samantha Meyer, Andrew Miller – Geography, Urban Planning. (No) Vacancy: How Can A Vacancy Tax Mitigate Los Angeles’ Housing Crisis?
    • Clementine Bordeaux, Viki Eagle, Jessica Fremland, Renee White Eyes – Anthropology, Education, Gender Studies, World Arts and Cultures/Dance. Owášte Optáya

Graduate Student Working Groups 2018-19

    • Dian Tri Irawaty, Fernanda Jahn-Verri, Jaehyeon (Jay) Park – Geography, Urban Planning. Discussing Landscapes of Property
    • 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

Graduate Student Working Groups 2017-18

    • Christina Chica, Emma Colven, Matías Fernández, Joel Herrera – Sociology and Geography. Political Sociology and the Global South
    • 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
    • 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

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

The UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy supports UCLA scholars 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.

  • Application deadline: Applications are closed.
  • Funding decision: April 14, 2020
  • Award amount: $500 per participant

The Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin invites applications from doctoral students and candidates, as well as postdoctoral fellows, at UCLA for a virtual writing group on the theme of Sanctuary Spaces: Reworlding Humanism, a Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar housed at the Institute. While the Sawyer Seminar will formally commence in Fall 2020, this virtual writing group is meant to create and support a community of inquiry at UCLA as part of such an endeavor. Situated at the present historical moment of resurgent white nationalism and xenophobia, Sanctuary Spaces: Reworlding Humanism, 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 United States to interrogate Western humanism and foreground alternative frameworks of freedom and justice. We welcome interest from scholars whose work is concerned with indigenous space-making, Black fugitivity and marronage, border and mobility studies, as well as those engaging with critiques and reimaginations of humanism.

Please note that this is intended to be a self-managed virtual writing group that is expected to convene every 10-15 days. The idea is for each participating scholar to present work in progress at least once during the tenure of this group and to read, and comment on, the work presented by other participants. Such work in progress could be a dissertation chapter or a draft journal article or a book manuscript. The writing group will commence on April 15, 2020 and conclude on June 30, 2020. Doctoral students will receive a stipend and postdoctoral fellows will receive funds to apply towards research costs in the amount of $500 for active participation in the group.

  • 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
  • Sanctuary Spaces

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.

  • Application deadline: Applications are now closed. Applications will be open for the 2020-21 academic year in Fall 2020.
  • Funding decision: Late April. Funds available for use beginning May 15, 2020 and must be expended by September 30, 2020
  • Award amount: Up to $1,000

Organizing Mutual Aid and Public Resources for Students & Communities

The Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin invites applications from UCLA graduate students who are responding to the COVID-19 crisis through mutual aid efforts and other community-based responses to food, housing, and livelihood insecurity. We are interested in both immediate responses, as well as those that address the long aftermath.

ELIGIBILITY:
Registered UCLA graduate students. Each working group must be comprised of at least three UCLA graduate students, with one student identified as the key contact for the group.

CRITERIA:
Applications must address one or more of the following priorities:

  1. Organization of mutual aid and volunteer efforts to support communities in the Los Angeles metropolitan region that are severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, such as informal sector workers, undocumented immigrants, unhoused neighbors, rent-burdened tenants, system-impacted people.
  2. Development and dissemination of lists of mutual aid/public resources that can provide support to UCLA students experiencing precarity and insecurity.
  3. Development and dissemination of “know your rights”/mutual aid/public resources for key social groups in Los Angeles severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. This is best done in collaboration with organizations and movements representing and serving these groups.

AWARDS:
Each successful proposal will receive up to $1,000 in funding. The student identified as the key contact will receive all funds into her/his BruinBill account* and be responsible for fund management on behalf of the entire group. Funding will be for Spring/Summer 2020 with the possibility of renewal through a new proposal competition in the Fall. Projects that are selected must acknowledge the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin on all collateral, public information materials, social media, and publications resulting from the award.

*While we are eager to expeditiously disburse funds, the university staff on whom we depend for such disbursement are stretched thin. We will do our best to disburse funds by May 15, 2020. but please understand that this might be delayed.

  • Application deadline: Applications are now closed. Applications will be open for the 2020-21 academic year in Fall 2020.
  • 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, and the Luskin Center for Innovation. 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.
  • Sanctuary Spaces – Situated at the present historical moment of resurgent while 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.
  • Application deadline: Applications are now closed.
  • Funding decision: Mid-May – funds available for use beginning July 1, 2020 and must be expended by June 30, 2021
  • Award amount: Up to $10,000 for research seed grants and up to $5,000 for pedagogy grants

The Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin invites proposals from UCLA faculty for grants to support research and pedagogy related to the Institute’s key research themes.

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

The Institute’s research themes remain as relevant as ever to the urgent questions at hand. All around the world, and especially here in the United States, the COVID-19 crisis has exposed and deepened lived inequalities. It is also evident that well after the public health emergency has abated, there will be prolonged disaster for communities that experience the everyday crisis that is racial capitalism. With this in mind, we encourage the submission of projects that address the current crisis, as well as those that address the crisis that has always been present. Also important, as we noted in the recent Institute Dispatch, is the role of the public university. We are on the threshold of a new era of austerity, one that portends the restructuring of labor and pedagogy at our universities. But this is also the time, both within and beyond universities, for renewed imaginations and practices of social justice, public investment, and grassroots organizing. With this in mind, we encourage the submission of projects that connect research, scholarship, and pedagogy to such community and public agendas and priorities.

ELIGIBILITY:
All UCLA Academic Senate and Non-Senate faculty are eligible to apply either on an individual basis or as a team. In the case of the latter, the application must indicate a lead researcher/instructor. 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’s funds will be used to expand or deepen the research and its impacts.

PRIORITIES:
The following are priorities with regards to proposal review:

  1. Organizing knowledge to challenge inequality is the Institute’s mandate and with this in mind, research and pedagogy that advance critical thinking or that can make a decisive conceptual contribution to a topic, are welcome. We are especially interested in research, scholarship, and/or teaching that demonstrates how “organizing knowledge” can challenge established academic wisdom, contribute to public debate, and/or build power for communities and movements.
  1. We are keen to support research and pedagogy developed in partnership with movement-based scholars and community organizations. In such cases, we ask that you provide us with a detailed explanation of your alliance with the relevant movement or organization and how this project will strengthen that alliance.
  1. Whether the research or teaching is located in a single neighborhood or concerned with translocal networks, we aim to highlight the global forces that might be at work in processes of displacement and dispossession and the struggles at hand. We encourage research and pedagogy that has an expansive socio-spatial imagination, be it located in global Los Angeles or elsewhere in the world.
  1. We share research and pedagogy with multiple academic and public audiences. Please consider the genres and formats through which you share your work, be it a field-defining syllabus, an opinion piece, creative work, or social science peer-reviewed publications.

GRANT REQUIREMENTS:
While we ask that research and pedagogy funds be expended December 31, 2021, we recognize that no-cost extensions may be necessary in order to deal with ongoing research disruptions and delays. Grantees are expected to provide the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin with a project summary and images in Summer 2020 and a final report in Fall 2021. Projects that receive grants must acknowledge the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin in all programs, public information materials, social media, and publications resulting from the grant.

PROPOSAL:
Please submit a research proposal (not to exceed five pages) outlining the key research questions and contributions of the project. While we are not looking for an elaborate research design, we would like to understand the methodologies you plan to use in such research and how these are aligned with the theoretical and conceptual stakes of the work. The proposal should address the themes and priorities listed in this call. In addition, please submit a budget and a short two-page CV for each of the faculty researchers involved in the project.

For pedagogy proposals, please describe the specific teaching endeavor for which you are requesting support. Explain how the Institute’s grant can make a difference and how you plan to extend such pedagogy beyond a specific course or syllabus. The proposal should address the themes and priorities listed in this call. In addition, please submit a budget and a short two-page CV for each of the faculty researchers involved in the project.

  • Application deadline: Applications are now closed. Applications will be open for the 2020-21 academic year in Fall 2020.

The Institute invites graduate students to join its Student Advisory Board for a term of one year beginning in Fall 2019. 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 2019-20 research themes:

  • Housing Justice in Unequal Cities
  • Debt and Predatory Financialization
  • Policing and Incarceration
  • Sanctuary Spaces

GET INVOLVED:

  • Attend Student Advisory Board meetings
  • Produce original content for the Institute (e.g. compose compelling stories; write event recaps and reports; produce video shorts and/or podcasts)
  • Provide guidance in the selection process for Institute-sponsored programs
  • Volunteer to staff the Institute’s quarterly events
  • Create a space to collaborate and exchange radical ideas
  • Follow and promote the Institute’s social media

Inequality and Democracy Research Fellowship Program: Applications CLOSED

The UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, in partnership with movement-based organizations, invite applications for up to nine (9) paid research fellowships for UCLA graduate or doctoral students currently enrolled in graduate programs at the Luskin School of Public Affairs.

The Inequality and Democracy Research Fellowship Program will commence at the start of Summer Quarter 2020 and conclude at the end of Spring Quarter 2021. The research fellowship will take place over Summer Quarter 2020 (12 weeks), estimated at 200 hours total. Each fellow will receive a stipend of $5,000, with one payment made at the start of the 12 weeks and the second payment made with the submission of the drafted deliverable for the partner organization. Research fellows are expected to be in-residence in Los Angeles for the entire duration of the fellowship and “in-residence” (i.e. virtually, or in close contact via email, Zoom, etc.) at the partner organization for at least part of the fellowship. Applicants are welcome to apply to more than one organization. The research fellows will be supervised by Ananya Roy, Faculty Director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, and Justin McBride, Research Coordinator at the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy.

Fellows are also expected to:

  • Participate in a mandatory orientation in Summer 2020
  • Participate in cohort meet-ups
  • Complete and submit required deliverables in Fall 2020 to both the partner organization, as well as the Institute
  • Present findings at a closing event or webinar organized by the Institute in Spring 2021

In addition to the work that contributes directly to the research project, the research fellows will work closely with the faculty director, the research coordinator, and the research supervisor at the partner organization to ensure the success of the program.

Students are also encouraged to incorporate these research projects into their graduate student capstone and dissertation requirements. Depending on their interests and those of the partner organizations, there may be the opportunity to continue research to build out such capstone work.

Click on the titles below to learn more about each research project and direct any questions to challengeinequality@luskin.ucla.edu. Please refrain from directly contacting any partner organization.

NOTE: Location of research listed by partner organizations will shift in accordance with directives from the State of California and the CDC.