• 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.

SANCTUARY SPACES: REWORLDING HUMANISM

Situated at the present moment of resurgent white nationalism and xenophobia, Sanctuary Spaces: Reworlding Humanism, 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, this project thinks across Europe and the United States to interrogate Western humanism and foreground alternative frameworks of freedom and justice.

ABOLITION REPOSITORY

As part of the public university, we seek to create a space of collective inquiry committed to reparation, redress, and to abolish the racialized policing of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. In coalition with student and community organizations, the Institute on Inequality and Democracy created a repository to organize resources and work together toward implementing the goal of divestment from the police state and investing in reparative public goods towards the horizon of abolition.

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.

Elizabeth Blaney

Community Organizer

Leonardo Vilchis

Community Organizer

Jane Nguyen

Community Organizer

STUDENT RESEARCH

With support from the Institute, graduate students from disciplines across UCLA’s campus contribute to developing, discussing, and applying methodologies that refuse extractive and exploitative research and seek to create a space of collective inquiry.

Inequality and Democracy Research Fellowship

Graduate Student Working Groups

Graduate Student Capstone Projects

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. Applications will be open for the next cycle in Fall 2021.
  • Funding decision: Mid-January 2022
  • Award amount: Up to $2,000

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.
  • Future of Finance – 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, Incarceration, Abolition – 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: October 15, 2021 5pm PST.

The Institute invites graduate students from the Luskin School of Public Affairs to participate in its Student Advisory Board. The Board serves a body of collective governance and the term is one year beginning in Fall 2021. 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 2021-22 research themes are:

  • Housing Justice
  • Future of Finance
  • Policing, Incarceration, Abolition
  • Sanctuary Spaces
  • Climate Justice

GET INVOLVED:

  • Attend quarterly Student Advisory Board meetings*
  • Provide guidance for Institute programs
  • Volunteer to support Institute events and programs
  • Initiate projects that connect students across different departments

*all meetings will be virtual

Inequality and Democracy Research Fellowship

The UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, in partnership with movement-based organizations, invite applications for 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 will commence at the start of Summer Quarter 2021 and conclude during the Fall Quarter 2021. The research fellowship will take place over Summer Quarter 2021 (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. 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 2021
  • Participate in cohort meet-ups
  • Complete and submit required deliverables in Fall 2021 to both the partner organization, as well as the Institute
  • Present findings at a closing event or webinar organized by the Institute

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. View projects from the previous cohort here.

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: Research with partner organizations will be conducted remotely and/or shift in accordance with directives from the State of California and the CDC.