• Ujju Aggarwal

    Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Experiential Learning


    Ujju Aggarwal is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Experiential Learning in the Schools of Public Engagement and an affiliate faculty member in Global Studies and the Department of Anthropology. Her research examines questions related to public infrastructures, urban space, racial capitalism, rights, gender, and the state. 

    She is currently completing her first book, The Color of Choice: Raced Rights, the Structure of Citizenship, and Inequality in Education, a historically informed ethnography of choice as it emerged in the post-Civil Rights period in the United States. Her work has been appeared in popular outlets, scholarly journals, and edited volumes including Transforming Anthropology, Scholar & Feminist Online, Educational Policy, and Feminists Rethink the Neoliberal State: Inequality, Exclusion, and Change (edited by Leela Fernandes). She is co-editor (with Edwin Mayorga and Bree Picower), of What’s race got to do with it? How current school reform policy maintains racial and economic inequality 2nd Edition (Peter Lang, 2019); and co-editor (with Linta Varghese and Rupal Oza) of Women’s Studies Quarterly Fall/Winter 2019.

    Prior to joining The New School, she was Visiting Joanne Woodward Chair in Public Policy at Sarah Lawrence College. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Vermont Center for Fine Arts and has also taught at Hunter College (CUNY) and Educational Opportunities Center (SUNY). Her research has been supported by the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (UT Austin), the National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation, the Center for Place, Culture and Politics (CUNY Graduate Center), and the Davis Putter Fund. 

    In addition to her academic training, Ujju also brings a long history of working to build local and national organizations that work for educational justice, immigrants’ rights, and transformative justice as well as projects that focus on the intersection of arts and social justice, popular education, and adult literacy. She currently serves as the Co-Chair for the K-16 Committee of the American Studies Association, as an Advisory Board Member of the Parent Leadership Project (Bloomingdale Family Head Start Center, PLP), and as an Advisory Board Member of PARCEO (Participatory Action-Research Center for Education Organizing).

    Degrees Held:

    PhD 2013, The Graduate Center, CUNY

    Professional Affiliations:

    American Anthropological Association

    American Association of Geographers

    American Education Research Association

    American Studies Association

    Critical Ethnic Studies Association

    National Women's Studies Association 

    Recent Publications:

    Manuscript progress: The Color of Choice: Raced Rights, the Structure of Citizenship, and Inequality in Education


    Edited Volumes:

    Co-Editor, Women’s Studies Quarterly Volume 47, Numbers 3 & 4, Fall/Winter 2019 (with Linta Varghese and Rupal Oza)

    Co-Editor, What’s race got to do with it? How current school reform policy maintains racial and economic inequality 2nd Edition. Peter Lang, 2019 (with Bree Picower and Edwin Mayorga)


    Selected Book Chapters

    School Choice: Raced Rights and Neoliberal Restructuring. In Mayorga, Aggarwal, and Picower, eds. What’s race got to do with it?: How current school reform policy maintains racial and economic inequality 2nd Edition. Peter Lang, 2019.

    A Reflection on Making Together. In Joseph, M. (ed.) A Moment on the Clock of the World: A Foundry Theatre Production. Haymarket Books, 2019. (with RJ Maccani).

    After Rights: Choice and the Structure of Citizenship. In Fernandes, Leela, ed. Feminists Rethink the Neoliberal State: Inequality, Exclusion, and Change. NYU Press, 2018.

    Making a Difference. In Sapon-Shevin, Mara, and Nancy Schniedewind. Educational courage: Resisting the ambush of public education. Beacon Press, 2012. (with Hirschman and Nevel)

    Women Creating Change: The Center for Immigrant Families’ English Literacy Project. In King, Kathleen P., and Mev Miller, eds. Empowering women through literacy: Views from experience. IAP, 2009. (with (with Gonzalez, Nevel, and Placencia)


    Selected Articles

    Defend and Transform. Anthropology News 58, no. 2 (2017): 318-321.

    From forgotten to fought over: Neoliberal restructuring, public schools, and urban space. S&F Online 13, no. 2 (2015). (with Edwin Mayorga)

    The ideological architecture of whiteness as property in educational policy. Educational Policy 30, no. 1 (2016): 128-152.

    The legacies of the US Civil Rights Act, fifty years on. Political Geography 48 (2015): 159-168. (with Caroline Nagel, Josh Inwood, Derek Alderman, Claire Bolton, Steve Holloway, Richard Wright)

    The Politics of Choice and the Structuring of Citizenship post‐Brown v. Board of Education. Transforming Anthropology 22, no. 2 (2014): 92-104.

    Slow violence and neoliberal education reform: Reflections on a school closure. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 18, no. 2 (2012): 156. (with Edwin Mayorga, Edwin and Donna Nevel)



    Segregation and Inequality in NYC Schools and Neighborhoods: Never Accidental (City Limits, October 24, 2016, with Donna Nevel)

    Tackle Segregation in New York City Schools With District-Wide Plans (WNYC Schoolbook, December 1, 2015, with Donna Nevel)

    The Fight for Dyett: What it Teaches Us and Why It Matters (, September 20, 2015, with Renee Hatcher)

    Responding to the Assault on District 3 Schools (El Diario NY, November 15, 2010, with Donna Nevel)

    A System That Does Not Work For Our Children (El Diario NY, August 4, 2009, with Perla Placencia)


    Awards And Honors:

    Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography, and Social Thought (GIDEST) Faculty Fellowship, The New School

    Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship

    Dissertation Fellow, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics (CUNY Graduate Center)

    Davis Putter Scholarship

    Union Square Award

    Current Courses:

    Beyond Policing

    Beyond Policing (Spring 2019)

    IS: SDL Project - LA

    IS: SDL Project - LA (Spring 2020)

    IS: SDL Project - NLA

    IS: SDL Project - NLA (Spring 2020)

    Self-Directed Learning Fund

    Self-Directed Learning Reflect (Spring 2020)