Ananya Roy


Professor of Urban Planning and Social Welfare

Director of The Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin

Home Department: Urban Planning; Social Welfare

Areas of Interest

Urban transformations in the global South; global poverty; international development




Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning and Social Welfare 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.  Previously she was on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. Ananya’s scholarship has focused on urban transformations in the global South, with particular attention to the making of “world-class” cities and the dispossessions and displacements that are thus wrought. Her books on this topic include City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty and Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global, the latter co-edited with Aihwa Ong. A separate line of inquiry has been concerned with new regimes of international development, especially those that seek to convert poverty into entrepreneurial capitalism and the economies of the poor into new markets for global finance. Her authored book on this subject, Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development, was the recipient of the 2011 Paul Davidoff award, which recognizes urban planning scholarship that advances social justice. A resident of Oakland, CA, for many years, her recent research uncovers how the U.S. “war on poverty” shaped that city and how also it became the terrain of militant politics as well as experiments with community development.  This work appears in her new book, Territories of Poverty: Rethinking North and South, co-edited with Emma Shaw Crane. Ananya’s ongoing research examines what she calls the “urban land question”, in India, as well as in globally interconnected nodes across North and South.  Her emphasis is on how poor people’s movements challenge evictions and foreclosures, thereby creating political openings for new legal and policy frameworks for the use and management of urban land.

Selected Research


  1. 2016, (with Kweku Opoku-Agyemang, Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales, and Clare Talwalker) Encountering Poverty. University of California Press, forthcoming.
  2.  2015, forthcoming (co-edited with Emma Shaw Crane) Territories of Poverty: Rethinking North and South. University of Georgia Press, Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation Series.


  1. 2016. “What is Urban about Critical Urban Theory?” Urban Geography, forthcoming.
  2. 2015. “Who is Afraid of Postcolonial Theory?” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, forthcoming.