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Manissa Maharawal Assistant Professor Anthropology

PhD (2017) Anthropology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York.
MPhil (2013) Anthropology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York.
BA (2005) Sarah Lawrence College

I am a cultural anthropologist and critical geographer whose work focuses on eviction, race, displacement and the spatial and temporal dynamics of contemporary urban social movements from Occupy Wall Street and anti-gentrification activism to Black Lives Matter. I am broadly interested in historical and contemporary struggles for social justice in cities.

Currently I am preparing my first book manuscript titled: The Activist’s City: Social Movements, Structures of Feeling, and the Politics of Place this work traces the spatial and temporal dynamics of waves of mobilization, organizing and protest as activists navigate the complex afterlives of “movement moments”. Bringing together affect theory, critical race theory, oral history, political ethnography and urban studies, this book examines how in San Francisco and New York City, in the midst of rapid gentrification activists transformed urban spaces to create a counter-hegemonic politics of place.

I am also co-Editor of "Counterpoints: A San Francisco Bay Area Atlas of Displacement & Resistance" (PM Press 2021), a collaborative edited volume by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project.

My work has been published in Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Antipode, Sociological Quarterly, American Anthropologist, Anthropological Theory, Anthropological Quarterly, Abolition Journal, Radical Housing Journal. In addition it has been published in media outlets such as The Guardian, N+1, AlterNet, The Indypendent, Counterpunch, and Waging Nonviolence, among other online and print periodicals, as well as in a number of edited books and anthologies.

My research and writing have been funded by the The American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York Council for the Humanities, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and The Center for Place Culture and Politics. I am also been the co-recipient of major professional awards from the American Studies Association (The Susan Garfinkel Prize in Digital Humanities) and the American Association of Geographers (The Alternative Geography Award).

I am the co-founder of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project‘s Narratives of Displacement and Resistance project. This digital humanities and oral history project documents urban change and resistance in the San Francisco Bay Area by foregrounding the stories of people who have been, or who are being, displaced. As a trained oral historian I conduct life-history interviews with activists in order to explore how life history contributes to the formation of “radical” politics. Through collecting life-histories and placing them on a digital online map of the city, the project creates a living archive, documenting deep and detailed neighborhood and personal histories.


Spring 2024

  • ANTH-453 Senior Seminar in Anthropology

  • ANTH-544 Topics in Public Anthropology: Urban Struggle(s)/Soc Movmnts

Fall 2024

  • ANTH-452 Anthropological Research Meth

  • ANTH-898 Doctoral Continuing Enrollment

  • ANTH-899 Doctoral Dissertation