Ujju Aggarwal is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Experiential Learning in the Bachelor’s Program for Adults and Transfer Students, and an affiliate faculty member in Global Studies and the Department of Anthropology. She also serves as Coordinator of BPATS' Self-Directed Learning Program.
Aggarwal’s research examines questions related to public infrastructures, urban space, racial capitalism, rights, gender, and the state. Her first book, Unsettling Choice: Race, Rights, and the Partitioning of Public Education is forthcoming, University of Minnesota Press, 2024. Aggarwal's next project, Education Against Enclosure, is supported by the Spencer Foundation. Her work has 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, 2020); and co-editor (with Linta Varghese and Rupal Oza) of Women’s Studies Quarterly Fall/Winter 2019.
Prior to joining The New School, Aggarwal 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 (African and African Diaspora Studies Department, University of Texas, 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, Aggarwal also brings a long history of work as a community organizer and popular educator. For over two decades, she has worked to build organizations that work for educational justice, immigrants’ rights, abolition 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 on the Board of Teachers Unite, on the Advisory Board Member of the Parent Leadership Project (Bloomingdale Family Head Start Center, PLP), on the Advisory Board Member of PARCEO (Participatory Action-Research Center for Education, Organizing), and as a mentor to National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation doctoral and postdoctoral fellows.
PhD 2013, The Graduate Center, CUNY
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)
The High Stakes of Defending Public Education (Rosa Luxemburg Shiftung), January 2021
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)
Mayor Eric Adams is Siphoning Funds from Public Schools to Fortify the NYPD (Truthout June 2022)
CUNY Ed Cast: Critical Race Theory in America’s Schools (September 2021)
Ethical Schools Podcast: On School Choice, Whiteness as Property, and the Right to Exclude (October 10, 2019)
City and State: Is Eliminating Gifted Programs a Good Idea? Ask the Experts (August 28, 2019)
horizon(s) of feeling: Mildred Beltré’s “Science of the Word,” Kentler International Drawing Space, exhibition catalogue, Mildred Beltré, Science of the Word, 2019
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 (Commondreams.org, 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
Spencer Foundation Small Grant
Distinguished University Teaching Award (Outstanding Achievements in Social Justice Teaching), The New School
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