American Studies
American Studies

Erin McElroy

Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz

Assistant Professor
Erin McElroy


  • Phone: 512-471-7385
  • Office: BUR 570
  • Office Hours: Fall 2021 Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 3pm-5pm by appointment (


digital geographies, critical race studies, urban studies, feminist technology studies, postsocialism, US empire, racial capitalism, housing justice, tenant organizing, data justice, counter-cartography, digital media, anti-imperialism, international solidarities, and public scholarship


Erin McElroy’s research focuses on property, race, technology, housing, and empire, with a particular focus on the imaginative and material dispossession that Silicon Valley imperial formations produce in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Romania. This, along with deep commitments to housing justice, animates their manuscript project, Unbecoming Silicon Valley: Techno Imaginaries and Materialities in Postsocialist Times. This project is based upon ethnographic research of socialist and postsocialist technocultures on both sides of the former Iron Curtain, as well as participation in anti-gentrification organizing and speculative future making projects. By situating the imperial aspirations caught up in processes of becoming Siliconized, Unbecoming Silicon Valley homes in on the ongoing work of refusing and thus unbecoming Silicon Valley. Articles based upon this project have appeared in Catalyst, Urban Studies, Imaginations, Urban Geography, Social Identities, Reframing Critical, Literary, and Cultural Theories, Obieg, and Notes from Below. This project emerged from Erin’s doctoral research in in the Feminist Studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, having received funding from the Fulbright, the Social Science Research Council, and more.

At the same time, Erin’s work has been informed through their engagement with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP)—a counter-cartography and digital media collective that Erin cofounded in 2013 to produce maps, tools, reports, zines, murals, videos, oral histories, and public scholarship for housing justice. Erin recently co-edited the AEMP’s first atlas, Counterpoints: A San Francisco Bay Area Atlas of Displacement and Resistance, now available with PM Press. Erin has also coauthored articles on AEMP in venues such as Antipode, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, American Quarterly, Anthropology News, Radical History Review, Logic Magazine, Media-N, Shelterforce, Housing Displacement: Conceptual and Methodological Issues, and more. Work with the AEMP, coupled with transnational commitments to housing justice, have informed Erin’s cofounding of the Radical Housing Journal, an open access, transnational, peer-reviewed journal, which brings together housing organizers and scholars globally. Such commitments also speak to Erin’s participation as a core partner in the Unequal Cities network housed at the Institute for Inequality and Democracy out of UCLA.

During Erin’s recent postdoctoral research at New York University’s AI Now Institute, they began a new project on “landlord tech,” or the property technologies that automate processes of eviction, gentrification, and carcerality. While landlord tech builds upon centuries of landlordism, racist policing, settler colonial property regimes, and data capitalism, as an industry, it blossomed after the 2008 foreclosure crisis and the “Tech Boom 2.0.” Recently Erin co-launched Landlord Tech Watch, which maps how and where landlord tech is deployed while also providing resources for resistance. Public scholarship emergent from this project has appeared in Shelterforce, Metropolitics, Foundry, and the Boston Review, having received support from the UC Humanities Research Institute and the Social Science Research Council. Erin is looking forward to continuing this work in the AMS department, where they are teaching courses on US empire, technology, racial dispossession, and housing justice.


AMS 310 • Intro To American Studies

31385 • Spring 2022
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 0.102

This class introduces students to the field of American Studies. The guiding objective of the class is to use interdisciplinary lenses – such as music, dance, material culture, and urban studies – to develop a more complex understanding of American culture. In this class, we will investigate select aspects of American culture using various methodological approaches. The course outline follows a semi-linear pattern in history, but is hardly comprehensive. We will look broadly at the tensions between individual identity formation and the many social constructions that operate in American culture. The class is loosely tied around the connection, or disconnection, of individuals with mass culture (music, in particular, but also cars, corporations, television, and even fashion).

AMS 370 • Technologies Of Us Empire

31920 • Fall 2021
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BUR 436B

This advanced undergraduate seminar will investigate the various technologies that the United States has used to maintain imperial geographies at “home” and abroad. After grounding ourselves in American studies scholarship on formations and variations of US empire, we will focus on imperial entanglements of global capital, liberalism, and technological systems. In this way, the course will offer a lens to theorize techniques of empire, as well as various methods of technocultural power. Geographically, our scope encompasses Indigenous lands now occupied by the US, as well global spaces technologically tethered to it. Particular attention will be paid upon the role of imagination, desire, space, and race, as well as uneven flows of media, data, labor, property, and infrastructure. We will also pay close attention to Cold War and post-Cold War technocapitalist shifts, looking to the solidification of Silicon Valley as an imperial locus. Throughout this course, students will engage with contemporary debates on empire, technoculture, data capitalism, and globalization, maintaining a transnational approach to American studies. We will also spend time considering decolonial technological futures and solidarities beyond the purview of US imperialism.

AMS 390 • Gentrification, Race And Tech

31985 • Fall 2021
Meets W 1:00PM-4:00PM UTC 4.104
(also listed as AFR 386C)

Graduate standing required. Permission from instructor required.

Curriculum Vitae

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