BE—150 Dean's Lecture: Ananya Roy - Property as Simulacrum: Informality and Illegality in the Postcolony

Ananya Roy

Glyn Davis Building,
B117 Theatre, Basement,
The University of Melbourne, Vic 3010


Thinking across the global North and global South, this Dean’s Lecture by Ananya Roy will foreground how rights to property are established and contested. Rather than take settlement and possession for granted, we can begin to explore the illegalities of the state through which property comes to be owned and used. Drawing on postcolonial thought, indigenous studies, and black geographies, dispossession in relation to the long histories of racial capitalism can be rethought. From this vantage point, new understandings of urban informality and urban inequality are made possible.

About Ananya Roy
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 Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA, which promotes research and scholarship concerned with displacement and dispossession.

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.

Her books include City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty, Urban Informality: Transnational Perspectives from the Middle East, South, Asia, and Latin AmericaWorlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being GlobalTerritories of Poverty: Rethinking North and South, and most recently, Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World.

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), and the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching recognition that the University of California, Berkeley bestows on its faculty.

BE-150: Celebrating 150 years of Built Environment education

Part of the 2019 BE—150 Dean’s Lecture Series.