Professor: Hannah Appel, Anthropology

Project Description: The Debt Collective is a team of debtors, organizers, technologists, media, and legal experts that is building a platform to allow members — whether they are low-wage workers, mortgage holding families, people caught up in the court and human caging system or struggling former college students — to renegotiate, resist, and refuse unfair debts. Leveraging the collective power of mass indebtedness, we offer debtors a shared platform for organization, advocacy, and direct action. We are building debtors unions. Alone, our debts are a burden; together, they make us powerful.

Black, Brown, and Powerful

50 years after the Chicano Blowouts, still waiting for justice and the need to reject more police in our schools

Fifty years ago, on March 1st, 1968, several hundred Mexican American and Chicana/o students at Wilson High School initiated an impromptu walkout protest in response to the cancelation of a school play by their principal.

2018 Activists-in-Residence Welcomed at Reception

The Institute on Inequality and Democracy (II&D) at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center welcomed Manuel Criollo and Yvonne Yen Liu as the 2018 UCLA Activist-in-Residence Fellows during a reception held Jan. 11, 2018, at the UCLA Luskin Commons.

INDIVISIBLE and the Resistance

Activist-in-Residence Program

With a shared commitment to advance democracy through research and alliances with civil rights organizations and progressive social movements, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin have partnered to offer UCLA’s Activist-in-Residence Program during the 2018 Winter and Spring Quarters.

Land, Livelihoods and Displacement in Indonesia

We are organizing a workshop,which promises to open up an innovative research agenda on land transformation, evictions and livelihoods extending across urban and rural areas. In the spirit of the IID’s call for proposals, we plan to invite to this event four activists who have been challenging evictions and developing alternatives in both rural and urban areas. The original motivation for this workshop is the explosion of land transformations in recent years, across rural and urban Asia. In urban areas, spectacular top-end real estate developments and infrastructure projects are displacing the low-income urban majority who reside in informal settlements, which are also key spaces for pursuing the informal livelihood strategies they often depend on. In rural areas, peasant agriculture is being displaced by special economic zones, peri-urban real estate and infrastructure developments, and plantations set aside for cash crops—in particular what have become known as ‘land grabs’: inter-state agreements to set land aside in one country for export oriented food and green energy production to the other country. In both contexts, these changes are triggering displacementof current residents, challenging their livelihood possibilities. The large-scale nature of these transformations, as well as the protests they have triggered across Asia, have made questions of land, livelihoods and displacement a priority for both academic research, development policyand activism. Indonesia, Asia’s third largest country, has become something of a cause célèbre for these issues, because of the dramatic nature of transformations in contexts ranging from rural Kalimantan’s palm oil plantations to downtown Jakarta. In Jakarta, the recent past has seen an escalation of evictions under the current governor:tens of thousands of residents from informal settlements had to watch the police and military, bulldozers, heavy machinery, and construction crews forcefully remove the homes that they had built with sweat equity.

To date there has been very little intellectual exchange between scholars working in rural and urban areas as well as between scholars and activists–not only in Indonesia, but also more generally across the global South. This workshop will convene an interdisciplinary group of leading international scholars and activists from Indonesia to transcend these divides and share experiences and insights. The workshop will be organized by Professors Helga Leitner and Eric Sheppard of UCLA’s Geography Department, who are currently undertaking collaborative research into land transformations in Indonesia, also interacting with Indonesian activists. We have one activist in residence, Dian Irawaty, currently a doctoral student at UCLA, who has been involved in the past in two of the activist organizations discussed below: UPC and RUJAK. She will be a great asset for facilitating the interaction between activists and scholars also bringing her own experience as an activist to the table.

To promote active interchange among participants this will be organized as a dialogic workshop,which intersperses research presentations with small group discussions that culminate in plenary sessions. These will be organized in such a way as to ensure that activists’ voice and experience are central to the discussions; academics and activists will thus be in a position to learn from one another. Beyond the co-production of activist/academic knowledge during the workshop, our intention is to use this as the foundation for a collaborative research program in Indonesia.

By: Helga Leitner and Eric Sheppard, UCLA Geography

Our Hoods, Our Stories: Documenting Displacement in Boyle Heights and Chinatown

The graduate student working group connected with community groups as UCLA students and worked on building connections for a project-based course that allows a longer-term commitment from UCLA to support anti-gentrification and anti-displacement work.

  • They have reached out to organizations like Union de Vecinos, Chinatown Community for Equitable Development.
  • Our Hoods, Our Stories Working Group attended community town hall meetings to learn what issues community members are facing.
  • They created a list of readings and a syllabus for a class on gentrification; its effects on community members and local economies; and policies that can either mitigate or exacerbate conditions of gentrification.
  • Their intention is for this to begin as a student-led and student-taught course, but will look for a faculty sponsor for the class to continue to inspire further research and action in the field of displacement.
  • Students hosted Gente Sí, Gentrify No: Resisting Displacement in Boyle Heights with the organizations they have connected with
    • Activists, residents, and community members came together to discuss the struggle against gentrification and displacement in Boyle Heights. Boyle Heights is at the epicenter of a spatially contested struggle for shelter in the midst of Los Angeles’ crisis of housing affordability. This renewed interest in the neighborhood comes after decades of disinvestment, racial discrimination, and substandard employment opportunities for its long-term residents. As a historic entry point for Mexican immigrants into the country, gentrification in Boyle Heights has not only taken a toll on the neighborhood’s most vulnerable populations, but it has eroded the vital social and cultural institutions of self-determination. But the threat of displacement has also inspired a rigorous and thriving social movement. In a moderated discussion, panelists explored the realities of gentrification and the organizing that has emerged as a response to provide context to the debate about gentrification in the neighborhood, and similar debates taking place across Los Angeles.

By: Eve Bachrach, Gina Charusombat, Amman Desai, Julia Heidelman, Lawrence Lan, Jacklyn Oh, Xochitl Ortiz, Carolyn Vera, and Estefania Zavala Urban Planning and Asian American Studies.

Welfare Workings: Popular Politics and the Public in Contemporary India

Our working group, titled ‘Welfare Workings: Popular Politics and the Public in Contemporary India’ comprises doctoral students from the disciplines of Anthropology, History and Sociology, with a shared interest in practices of development and welfare in colonial and post-colonial India. Over the past summer, each of us conducted small fieldwork and archival projects, tying our group’s focus on the multiple, contested, and dynamic meanings and enactments of welfare to diverse historical and geographical contexts in South Asia, ranging from the workings of the rural bureaucracy in Karnataka, NGO programs on women’s empowerment in Himachal Pradesh, late colonial histories of ‘public works’ projects in Uttarakhand, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs in the context of mining projects in Jharkhand. Building on these summer projects, the group sought to use our meetings to ground our preliminary empirical findings in relevant theoretical debates on welfare, development, and the changing nature of the Indian state. We formulated an exciting lecture-discussion meeting format to integrate our analysis of critical scholarship on these themes with the relevant expertise of faculty and visiting scholars at UCLA. Our speaker-discussions included a conversation with Dr. Kevan Hariss, Sociology, on welfare in the context of neoliberalization in the global south; with Prof. Akhil Gupta, Anthropology, on the developmental state in India; and with visiting scholar Alf Nielsen on development projects, hegemony and resistance in western India. Further, we organized a public talk, in collaboration with the Center for India and South Asia, with Dr. Vivek Srinivasan titled ‘Delivering Public Services Effectively: Tamil Nadu and Beyond’. Our reading group continues to read key thematic texts in the Spring quarter and aims to develop a concise literature review on the topic over the coming months.

By: Hannah Carlan, Nafis Hasan, Tanya Matthan, Nivedita Nath, Gabriel Locke Suchodolski, Anthropology, History, and Sociology.


Why History Matters: Why Black Women’s Lives Matter

Why Black Women’s Lives and Histories Matter

Thursday, February 8, 2018
7:00 p.m.

Fowler Museum at UCLA, Lenart Auditorium
Self-pay parking available in Structure 4

Funmilola Fagbamila
Adjunct Professor, Department of Pan-African Studies

California State University, Los Angeles
2017 Activist-in-Residence with the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin

Dion Fountaine Raymond, J.D.
Discrimination Prevention Officer and Coordinator
UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Brenda Stevenson
Professor and Nickoll Family Endowed Chair in History
UCLA Department of History

moderated by
Marcus Anthony Hunter
Scott Waugh Endowed Chair in the Division of the Social Sciences
Associate Professor and Chair
UCLA Department of African American Studies

Economic Policy and the Civil Rights Movement: How Coretta Scott King Helped Change Federal Reserve Policy

The UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy presents…

“Economic Policy and the Civil Rights Movement: How Coretta Scott King Helped Change Federal Reserve Policy Workshop” featuring David Stein.

Contact Zone: UCLA Activists-in-Residence

Contact Zones are social spaces of engagement. Join us for this speaker series from the Library Diversity Committee that will bring together community leaders and experts to help navigate issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Learn from the experiences and projects of UCLA’s Activists-in-Residence. Hear their tips and advice on how to create a more diverse and inclusive environment at UCLA.

Manuel Criollo is the Activist-In-Residence at the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin and has served as lead organizer on a wide range of local, regional and statewide campaigns, including solidarity work with social movements in Chiapas, Mexico, El Salvador and Venezuela. He received his BA from University of California, Santa Barbara, where he organized youth and students against anti-immigrant and anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives in California.


Yvonne Yen Liu

Yvonne Yen Liu is the Activist-in-Residence at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the co-founder and research director of Solidarity Research Center, a worker self-directed nonprofit that cultivates solidarity economies through data science, story-based strategy, and direct action. She is based in Los Angeles, California, where the sun smiles on her every day. She has a BA in cultural anthropology from Columbia University and a MA degree in sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she pursued a PhD.

RSVP preferred. This is a free event open to all audiences. Questions: 

Downloadable event flyer. 

Protecting Renters: Discussions of Rent Control, Stabilization, and Evictions

California’s housing crisis is hitting renters hard. With rents fast increasing in Los Angeles, many people are scared. Whether they fear rent increases that push housing costs out of reach or being scared that improvements to the building mean a rent increase is imminent, the rental market can be scary. California is known for strong tenant protections, but existing state laws like the Ellis Act (evicting tenants to convert buildings to ownership) or Costa-Hawkins Act (not allowing new construction to be under rent control) weakens these tenant protections. What’s the appetite for reforming these laws? How are they currently affecting residents in Los Angeles? What can be done to put renters in Los Angeles on a more stable foundation?


Joan Ling, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Tony Samara, Urban Habitat

Doug Smith, Public Counsel


Mike Lens, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Lunch will be provided.

Livestream available here.

Plans for Freedom: Sanctuary, Abolition, and Reconstruction in the Age of Trumpism

 Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 6:00pm to 8:00pm

 Building 7, 429
77 MASSACHUSETTS AVE, Cambridge, MA 02139

MIT Department of Architecture / Spring 2018 Lecture Series
Organized with MIT Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS)

The Trump presidency has brought to sharp light the enduring racial inequalities through which liberal democracy is constituted and lived.  In this talk, Ananya Roy examines imaginations and practices of resistance, from sanctuary cities to professional refusal, against regimes of white nationalism. But she also places the present historical conjuncture in the broader history of racial capitalism and return to the “freedom dreams” of black reconstruction and the project of abolitionism. Roy argues that our disciplines and professions have a role to play in such plans of freedom.

Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography and founding Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, Los Angeles where she holds the Renee and Meyer Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy.  Previously she was on the faculty at the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley.  Ananya’s research and scholarship has a determined focus on poverty and inequality and lies in four domains: how the urban poor in cities from Kolkata to Chicago face and fight eviction, foreclosure, and displacement; how global financialization, working in varied realms from microfinance to real-estate speculation, creates new markets in debt and risk; how the efforts to manage and govern the problem of poverty reveal the contradictions and limits of liberal democracy; how new programs of welfare and human development are being demanded and made in the global South. Ananya is the author of several books including Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development (Routledge, 2010), which received the Paul Davidoff book award from ACSP.  Her most recent book is Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World (UC Press, 2016).  During the last year, Ananya’s public scholarship has challenged white supremacy and white power.  From the short video, “3 Truths About Trumpism,” to the organization of a nationwide day of Teach.Organize.Resist, her work mobilizes the power of knowledge to divest from whiteness.

The Intersection: Woke Black Folk

26th Annual Pan African Film Festival

Featured Theater Event

Playwright, Poet, Scholar and Activist FUNMILOLA FAGBAMILA performs for ONE NIGHT ONLY her one-woman, hip hop, spoken word theater piece:


The Intersection: Woke Black Folk explores and deconstructs black political identity, foregrounding the forms of ideological conflict and difference that exist within what can be understood to be black radicalism. It calls into question the coherence and singularity of the political category, “woke black folk,” demonstrating the deep differences and divides within black communities and within black mobilization.

View the trailer here.

Friday, March 2nd, 2018



at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center | Leimert Park

4305 Degnan Blvd #101, Los Angeles, CA 90008

“This is Baduizm.”

-Erykah Badu

“This work is timely, brilliant and necessary.”

-Angela Davis

General admission $20

18 & Under $15

Tickets can be purchased here.

Dinner / refreshments will be provided!

At the Limits of Urban Theory: Racial Banishment in the Contemporary City

Hosted by LSE Cities


In cities around the world, especially in the United States, processes of socio-spatial restructuring continue to unfold. Often understood as neoliberal urbanism and often identified through concepts such as gentrification, these processes entail the displacement of subaltern classes to the far edges of urban life. In this talk, Ananya Roy argues that it is necessary to analyse such transformations through a theorisation of racial capitalism.

In particular, she draws on research conducted by scholars and social movements in Los Angeles to delineate processes of racial banishment. In doing so, Roy argues that the standard conceptual repertoire of urban studies is ill-equipped to study such processes. In particular, influential explanations that invoke neoliberalisation often miss the long histories of dispossession and disposability that are being remade in the contemporary city. Put another way, she makes the case for how urban studies must contend with legacies of white liberalism and the elision of the race question. Relying on both postcolonial theory and the black radical tradition, Roy demonstrates that what is at stake is not only a more robust analysis of urbanism but also attention to the various forms of movement and mobilisation that are challenging racial banishment.

Ananya Roy (@ananyaUCLA) is Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare and Geography and inaugural Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin. She holds The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy.


Ricky Burdett (@BURDETTR) is Professor of Urban Studies at the LSE and Director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme. He was curator of the Conflicts of an Urban Age exhibition at the 2016 International Architecture Biennale in Venice and contributed to the United Nations Habitat III conference on sustainable urbanisation in Quito.

LSE Cities (@LSECities) is an international centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science that carries out research, graduate and executive education and outreach activities in London and abroad. Its mission is to study how people and cities interact in a rapidly urbanising world, focussing on how the design of cities impacts on society, culture and the environment.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEAnanyaRoy

This event is free and open to all. However, a ticket is required, only one ticket per person can be requested.

This event will be webcast live on the LSE website on LSE LIVE.

A Conversation with Chelsea Manning

UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs presents

A Conversation with Chelsea Manning
Monday, March 5, 2018
6:30 p.m. @ Royce Hall
$35: General Admission
$15: UCLA Faculty/Staff
Free to current UCLA students with ID

As an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense, Chelsea Manning disclosed classified documents to WikiLeaks that revealed human rights abuses and corruption connected to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in a military prison, but released in 2017 after President Obama commuted her sentence. While in prison, Manning publicly identified as a trans woman and asserted her right to medical therapy. Now an advocate for government transparency and queer and transgender rights, Manning will speak about topics including resistance in the age of artificial intelligence; activism and protest; transgender issues; and the intersection of technology and people’s lives.
Part of the Meyer and Renee Luskin Lecture Series

From the NFL to the Crenshaw Line: Black Workers Matter

Presented by the Critical Race Studies Program and the Black Law Students Association


Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, Founder and Director, Los Angeles Black Worker Center

Delvin Turner, UCLA Law Class of 2019

Noah D. Zatz, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law


Cheryl I. Harris, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Professor in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; Faculty Director, Critical Race Studies Program, UCLA School of Law

Lunch will be provided for those who RSVP.

Support for Black Reparations in the Early 21st Century

Support for Black Reparations in the Early 21st Century
Talk by Michael Dawson

John D. MacArthur Professor of Political Science and the College
The University of Chicago

Monday, February 12, 2018
12 p.m.–2 p.m.
Black Forum 153, UCLA Haines Hall

Lunch will be provided.

Michael C. Dawson is the John D. MacArthur Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. He has also taught at the University of Michigan and Harvard University. Dawson received his BA with High Honors from Berkeley in 1982 and doctorate degree from Harvard University in 1986. Professor Dawson was co-principal investigator of the 1988 National Black Election Study and was principal investigator with Ronald Brown of the 1993-1994 National Black Politics Study.

His research interests have included the development of quantitative models of African American political behavior, identity, and public opinion, the political effects of urban poverty, and African American political ideology. This work also includes delineating the differences in African American public opinion from those of white Americans. More recently he has combined his quantitative work with work in political theory.

His previous two books, Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African-American Politics (Princeton 1994) and Black Visions: The Roots of Contemporary African-American Political Ideologies(Chicago 2001), won multiple awards, including Black Visionswinning the prestigious Ralph Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association. Dawson has also published numerous journal articles, book chapters and opinion pieces. Dawson’s strong interest in the impact of the information technology revolution on society and politics, as well as his research on race are both fueled in part from his time spent as an activist while studying and working in Silicon Valley for several years. Dawson is currently finishing an edited volume, Fragmented Rainbow, on race and civil society in the United States as well as a solo volume, Black Politics in the Early 21st Century.

He is with Lawrence Bobo, the founding co-editor of the journal The Du Bois Review (Cambridge University Press), as well as being the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago. Dawson has also served as the Chair of the Political Science Department of the University of Chicago. Among other duties Dawson was elected to the Board of the Social Science Research Council and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006. Dawson has been interviewed extensively by the print and broadcast media including the Washington Post, The Economist Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NPR, CNN, BET, and ABC News. Dawson is also a regular commentator at

Selected Publications: