2016. Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World. Co-editors: Genevieve Negrón-GonzalesKweku Opoku-Agyemang, Clare Talwalker. University of California Press. Poverty, Interrupted Series.

Encountering Poverty challenges mainstream frameworks of global poverty by going beyond the claims that poverty is a problem that can be solved through economic resources or technological interventions. By focusing on the power and privilege that underpin persistent impoverishment and using tools of critical analysis and pedagogy, the authors explore the opportunities for and limits of poverty action in the current moment. Encountering Poverty invites students, educators, activists, and development professionals to think and act against inequality by foregrounding, rather than sidestepping, the long history of development and the ethical dilemmas of poverty action today.



  1. Territories of Poverty: Rethinking North and South. Co-editor: Emma Shaw Crane. University of Georgia Press, Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series.

Territories of Poverty challenges the conventional North-South geographies through which poverty scholarship is organized. Staging theoretical interventions that traverse social histories of the American welfare state and critical ethnographies of international development regimes, these essays confront how poverty is constituted as a problem. In the process, the book analyzes bureaucracies of poverty, poor people’s movements, and global networks of poverty expertise, as well as more intimate modes of poverty action such as volunteerism. From post-Katrina New Orleans to Korean church missions in Africa, this book is fundamentally concerned with how poverty is territorialized.

In contrast to studies concerned with locations of poverty, Territories of Poverty engages with spatial technologies of power, be they community development and counterinsurgency during the American 1960s or the unceasing anticipation of war in Beirut. Within this territorial matrix, contributors uncover dissent, rupture, and mobilization. This book helps us understand the regulation of poverty—whether by globally circulating models of fast policy or vast webs of mobile money or philanthrocapitalist foundations—as multiple terrains of struggle for justice and social transformation.



2011. Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global. Co-Editor: Aihwa Ong. Wiley Blackwell.

Cities across Asia – from Dubai to Delhi, from Singapore to Shanghai – are sites of intense experiments with globality. These interconnected speculations are an important way in which Asian futures are being conceived, lived, and contested. This book draws attention to such practices of worlding and how they produce governable subjects and governable spaces. Worlding Cities is also a critical intervention in urban analysis, deconstructing the epistemologies of worlding that have until now mapped Asian cities and making possible new geographies of theory. Bringing together scholars from different generations and from across the humanities and social sciences, Worlding Cities is the first serious examination of the space of inter-Asian urbanism.



2010. Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development. Routledge.

This is a book about poverty but it does not study the poor and the powerless.  Instead it studies those who manage poverty. It sheds light on how powerful institutions control “capital,” or circuits of profit and investment, as well as “truth,” or authoritative knowledge about poverty. Such dominant practices are challenged by alternative paradigms of development, and the book details these as well. Using the case of microfinance, the book participates in a set of fierce debates about development – from the role of markets to the secrets of successful pro-poor institutions. Based on many years of research in Washington D.C., Bangladesh, and the Middle East, Poverty Capital also grows out of the author’s undergraduate teaching to thousands of students on the subject of global poverty and inequality.

Poverty Capital is the recipient of the 2011 Paul Davidoff Book Award (Awarded by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning to recognize an outstanding book publication promoting participatory planning and positive social change, opposing poverty and racism as factors in society and seeking ways to reduce disparities between rich and poor; white and black; men and women).



2008. The Practice of International Health. Lead Editor: Daniel Perlman. Oxford University Press.

Virtually every school of public health teaches a global health course, yet the major textbooks provide little on the actual practice of international health. This new book comprises a series of vivid first person accounts in which physicians, epidemiologists, health workers, and public health professionals from around the world present the critical dilemmas and challenges facing the field. Aimed primarily at medical and public health students and professionals, this book will be a much-needed addition to the existing literature. Related fields, such as development and urban studies, will find this book an engaging introduction to the core issues of international development. International health practitioners, national and local policymakers, foundations officers, and other related professionals will also find it an invaluable compendium.

“The Practice of International Health is a beautifully conceived and beautifully written book. It offers an inspiring example of what may be accomplished when scholars with field experience break free of rigid disciplinary boundaries in order to examine key problems in international health. This case-based approach is precisely the one that will allow us to build a new field based on broad understandings of these problems and on the solutions that might follow. The need for and vibrant potential of such a focus on practice that resonates in every page of this book signals its profound relevance to students and teachers of public health, and, one hopes, to policy makers and funders.” From the Foreword by Paul Farmer



2007. Calcutta Requiem: Gender and the Politics of Poverty. Pearson India.

This is the Indian and second edition of City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty with a new introductory chapter titled “Millennial Calcutta: Notes on the First Decade of the Urban Century.”



2004. Urban Informality: Transnational Perspectives from the Middle East, Latin America, and South Asia.  Co-Editor: Nezar AlSayyad. Lexington Books.

The turn of the century has been a moment of rapid urbanization. Much of this urban growth is taking place in the cities of the developing world and much of it in informal settlements. This book presents cutting-edge research from various world regions to demonstrate these trends. The contributions reveal that informal housing is no longer the domain of the urban poor; rather it is a significant zone of transactions for the middle-class and even transnational elites. Indeed, the book presents a rich view of “urban informality” as a system of regulations and norms that governs the use of space and makes possible new forms of social and political power.  The book is organized as a “transnational” endeavor. It brings together three regional domains of research–the Middle East, Latin America, and South Asia–that are rarely in conversation with one another. It also unsettles the hierarchy of development and underdevelopment by looking at some First World processes of informality through a Third World research lens.



2003. City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty. University of Minnesota Press.

Housing developments emerge amid the paddy fields on the fringes of Calcutta; overflowing trains carry peasant women to informal urban labor markets in a daily commute against hunger; land is settled and claimed in a complex choreography of squatting and evictions: such, Ananya Roy contends, are the distinctive spaces of a communism for the new millennium—where, at a moment of liberalization, the hegemony of poverty is quietly reproduced. An ethnography of urban development in Calcutta, Roy’s book explores the dynamics of class and gender in the persistence of poverty.

City Requiem, Calcutta emphasizes how gender itself is spatialized, and how gender relations are negotiated within the geopolitics of modernity and through the everyday practices of territory. Thus Roy shows how urban developmentalism, in its populist guise, reproduces the relations of masculinist patronage, and, in its entrepreneurial guise, seeks to reclaim a bourgeois Calcutta, gentlemanly in its nostalgias. In doing so, her work expands the field of poverty studies by showing how a politics of poverty is also a poverty of knowledge, a construction and management of social and spatial categories.