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Reckonings & Encounters




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Ananya Roy 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. Previously she was on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where she founded and played a leadership role in several academic programs including those concerned with poverty research and poverty action. 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 economic prosperity and aspiration in the global South is creating new potentialities for programs of human development and social welfare. Ananya is the recipient of several awards including the Paul Davidoff book award, which recognizes scholarship that advances social justice, for Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development (Routledge, 2010); the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching recognition that the University of California, Berkeley bestows on its faculty; and the Excellence in Achievement award of the Cal Alumni Associ-ation, a lifetime achievement award which celebrates her contributions to the University of California and public sphere.

In just over 15 years, Ananya Roy has constructed a rich body of work exploring the politics and ethics of urban and planning theory, to which this booklet attempts to do justice. Throughout her career, she has steadily challenged the boundaries and foreclosures of planning theory, in particular through her engagement with the study of poverty. Roy has devoted much of her writing to provincializing what she sometimes calls “grand theory” by engaging in a growing effort by planning and urban theorists to defamiliarize the subjects, bounds, and origins of planning theory. She uses the complicated relationship between poverty and planning as a threshold for questioning how planning theory has beenconstructed, imagined, and defended. The challenges she poses through her research and writing offeran expansive vision of how theory can grapple with the histories, subjects, and intents of planningas a field of practice and study.


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Planning, Planning Theory, Politics, Ethics, Ananya Roy