Loyola University Chicago

Department of Sociology


Meghna Chandra, PhD

Title/s:  Postdoctoral Fellow in Economic Justice at the Institute for Racial Justice

Email: mchandra@luc.edu

CV Link: Meghna Chandra CV (June 2023)


Dr. Meghna Chandra is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Economic Justice at the Institute for Racial Justice. Her research looks at the impacts of university-driven development on surrounding communities and is concerned more broadly with the struggles of the working class in knowledge economy cities. She defended her dissertation in February 2022 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2). Her dissertation “The Black Worker and the Knowledge Economy: University-driven Development vs. Homeowner Democracy” examined gentrification around the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and Temple University using qualitative interviews with longtime community leaders, mapping, K-cluster analysis, and logistic regression analysis of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. The two main findings are that university-driven development is eroding Philadephia’s stock of single family owner occupied housing, and that in addition to a physical displacement, there is a political and ideological displacement of black worker communities. Meghna’s current research examines the rise of cash-based purchasing in urban homeowner markets, as well as the history of African American and working-class homeownership in Philadelphia. She is interested in conducting a comparison of university-driven development models in Philadelphia and Chicago.

An important part of Meghna’s development as a scholar and thinker was helping organize the 2018 Year of DuBois in honor of the 150th birth anniversary of W.E.B. DuBois. The year included symposia exploring and celebrating his work on labor rights, women’s liberation, peace, and Afro-Asian unity. It also included a literacy campaign “Philadelphia Reads DuBois” in which DuBois’s work was read at churches, public libraries, senior centers, union halls and universities on a biweekly basis. Her experience with the Year of DuBois taught her the importance of ideas and education in the struggle for change, and she hopes to continue this work as a scholar and teacher.

In the future, Dr. Chandra hopes to teach a course called “Democracy and the City” that will combine GIS instruction with an understanding of how urban movements for labor, civil rights, housing, and dignity have understood democracy and what these definitions might tell us about our current political crises. Dr. Chandra also has an MA in history from Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.