The Quarantine Tapes

The Quarantine Tapes 106: Ananya Roy

Episode Summary

“There is another kind of refusal, and that is the refusal of silence. I think one of the most disappointing things to me is how many of our professions and disciplines have been silenced--dangerously silenced in the context of all that is happening in the U.S.--worried that speaking out will politicize the discipline and profession. Well, silence is its own politics as well.”

Episode Notes

On episode 106 of The Quarantine Tapes, Paul Holdengräber is joined by Ananya Roy, Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography at UCLA. Ananya was recently awarded one of the 2020 Freedom Scholars grants. She and Paul talk about how her work as an urban studies scholar focuses on the relationship between property, personhood and police.


Ananya tells Paul about her recent experiences calling for UCLA to divest from the police. They then discuss the need to challenge the university as an institution, with Ananya breaking down the role of scholars in scholars and activists’ shared struggles.


Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography and The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is inaugural Director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA, which advances research and scholarship concerned with displacement and dispossession in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the world. Working in alliance with radical movements, the Institute seeks to build power and abolish structures of inequality, within and beyond the university. Ananya’s work has focused on urban transformations and land grabs as well as on global capital and predatory financialization. With enduring theoretical commitments to postcolonial critique, feminist thought, and critical race studies, she refuses the whiteness of canons of knowledge, forging theory and pedagogy attentive to historical difference. Currently, Ananya leads a National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network on Housing Justice in Unequal Cities.  Her own research is concerned with “racial banishment,” the expulsion of working-class communities of color from cities through racialized policing and other forms of dispossession. Along with colleagues at UCLA, Ananya leads a Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar on Sanctuary Spaces: Reworlding Humanism, which is concerned with the place of racial others in liberal democracy. Situating transnational inquiry and solidarity at the present moment of resurgent white nationalism and xenophobia, the Sanctuary Spaces project challenges Western humanism and foregrounds alternative frameworks of freedom and justice.