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City Talks: Ananya Roy on Urbanism, Poverty, and the Whiteness of Theory

[City Talks provides a platform for conversations around the social, political, economic, cultural, and environmental transformations that define the historical and contemporary geographies of the Middle East and beyond. Bringing together voices from critical scholars, activists, and artists, it seeks to explore the ways racialized, gendered, and class-based social orders come into being, materialize, and are resisted through the fabric of bodies, space, and time.] 

In this second installment of City Talks, Hiba Bou Akar and Hun Kim discuss with Ananya Roy her trajectory of scholarship on urban informality, gendered poverty, social movements, and postcolonial urban theory. The interview traces how this body of scholarship has informed Roy’s approach to rethinking what she calls the “whiteness of theory,” or the Euro-American modes of thought that have come to dominate urban studies. Roy points to the need to theorize from the position of the global South, highlighting the interconnected processes that simultaneously shape geographies across North and South. In the interview, Roy also reflects on her new role as the director of the newly established Institute on Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, Los Angeles, and about how her trajectory has shaped her vision to develop critical and robust relationships between research, pedagogy, and practice. The interview took place at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) annual conference in San Francisco on 31 March 2016. 

Ananya Roy is a Professor of Urban Planning and Social Welfare and inaugural Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Luskin School of Public Affairs. Before joining UCLA, Roy was on the faculty at University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of numerous influential works in urban geography, including City Requiem Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty and Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development.  Her current research examines 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.

 


City Talks: Ananya Roy on Urbanism, Poverty, and the Whiteness of Theory

Themes and Time Markers

00:06 | Introduction

00:33 | Trajectory of Scholarship

02:44 | Urban Informality and New Geographies of Theory

07:00 | Millennial Development and Microfinance: Poverty Capital

10:28 | Territories of Poverty

14:00 | Scholarly Influences

17:00 | Contemporary Debates in Urban Studies

22:30 | Current Work: Institute on Inequality and Democracy, University of California, Los Angeles

 

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