Back to All Events

PPEH Faculty Working Group + Rising Waters: Malini Ranganathan, American University

  • Williams Hall 623 255 South 36th Street Philadelphia, PA, 19104 United States (map)

Faculty Working Group – Breakfast Meeting

Dispossession, Liberalism, and the Coloniality of Urban Ecologies
Malini Ranganathan
Assistant Professor, School of International Service, American University


How do we understand lead poisoning in water pipes, land dispossession and evictions, and real estate speculation on wetlands—all of which disproportionately affect the life chances of racial, ethnic, and caste minorities—as projects of empire and liberalism? Drawing on urban historiography and archival and ethnographic work in India and the US, this talk seeks to expose how race and other forms of difference subtly encoded within liberal urban policy and planning have had, and continue to have, a bearing on urban ecologies. Drawing on critical race and postcolonial theory, the talk considers if and how liberalism can be recovered and repurposed for emancipatory urban futures.

Malini Ranganathan is Assistant Professor at the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. Her research focuses on the relationship between urban housing, land, and water infrastructures, as well as struggles for environmental and spatial justice in India and the US. She has a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in Energy and Resources with a Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies. She is a 2017-2019 co-recipient of an American Council of Learned Societies-Andrew W Mellon Foundation grant titled “Corruption Plots, Imagined Publics: The Ethics of Space in the Millennial City”. Her work is published in Antipode, Progress in Human Geography, Annals of American Association of Geographers, and other venues.