Appointed As

Sociology/Feminist Research Institute (FRI) Postdoctoral Fellow


ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships program


University of California, Davis

PhD Field of Study

PhD, Sociology, Binghamton University, State University of New York

Dissertation Abstract

"Cycles Of Capital Accumulation, Bio-Politics And Displacement In Chinatown And The Lower East Side,
Manhattan, New York City, 1965-2017"

The Borough of Manhattan in New York City has 12 Community Boards. Community Board 3 includes
East Village, Chinatown, and the Lower East Side (LES). In 2008, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (2002-
2013) passed the East Village rezoning plan. This rezoning plan restricted the height limits of all
incoming constructions in the whiter and wealthier neighborhood of East Village while excluding the
multi-racial low-income neighborhoods of Chinatown and the LES. Without height protections, real estate
developments rushed into the two neighborhoods. Property values in the unprotected areas increased;
subsequently, property taxes also increased, which led to the displacement of workers, tenants, and small
business owners from the two neighborhoods. Ten thousand petition signatures were gathered demanding
City Hall to include the excluded areas in the EV rezoning plan. As a response to this petition, the city
created the Chinatown Working Group (CWG), which initially aimed to rezone a small portion of
Chinatown and exclude the LES. On the other hand, community organizations formed the Coalition to
Protect Chinatown and the LES. Under a working-class leadership, the Coalition created the People First
Rezoning (PFR) Plan demanding the same height protections for both Chinatown and the LES. As a result
of grassroots organizing, CWG included both neighborhoods in its zoning boundaries and adopted the
height protections from the PFR plan. The dissertation takes the contested process of displacement in
Chinatown and the LES as its object of observation. As a historical process, displacement constitutes and
is constituted by capital accumulation and state-initiated regulatory processes. The study examines the
overlapping effects of real estate investments, governmental mechanisms in regulating displaced
communities, and the various phases of social resistance and collective action among the multi-racial
working-class communities marked by the ongoing displacement. This nexus of systemic processes form
a unit of analysis, enabling a historical comparison of displacement and anti-displacement strategies and
tactics at the local level. The dissertation highlights the specificity of the post-9/11 era emphasizing the
tactical aspects of coalition building and the political aspects of the CWG rezoning plan, which are both
responses to the 2008 EV rezoning.