Ananya Roy, The Democratization of Capital: Microfinance and Its Discontents

The Department of Geography, Simpson Center for the Humanities, and The Space of Democracy and Democracyof Space network welcome Ananya Roy, professor of City & Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkely for her talk, The Democratization of Capital: Microfinance and Its Discontents.

Microfinance, a poverty-alleviation tool popularized by the Grameen Bank, is today a global industry and a global “asset class.” Indeed, as high finance has come to be discredited as “bad money,” so microfinance is being promoted as a successful and ethical version of subprime finance, a “democratization of capital.” Drawing on research conducted in Washington D.C., Wall Street, Bangladesh, and the Middle East, this talk traces the circuits of truth and capital at work in such forms of “bottom billion capitalism.” It also presents the contradictions and contestations that haunt the democratization of capital, from counter-hegemonic articulations of development in the global South to the sheer limits of frontier strategies that attempt to manage risk amidst the dense relationalities of the bottom billion.

Where: Kane 120

When: Monday, October 11, 7:00 p.m.

Ananya Roy is the author of City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty (2003), co-editor of  Urban Informality: Transnational Perspectives from the Middle East, South Asia, and Latin America (2004), and co-editor of The Practice of International Health (2008). Her most recent book is titled Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development (2010). Roy is now completing an edited book (with Aihwa Ong) titled Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global (2010).

Roy teaches in the fields of urban studies and international development, holds an affiliate faculty position in the Energy &Resource Group, and serves as Education Director of the Blum Center for Developing Economies and as Co-Director of the Global Metropolitan Studies Center. Roy is a member of SAVE the University, a fculty group dedicated to the struggle to maintain public education in California.

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