Ben Gerlofs, Ph.D. Rutgers University, Geography

Postdoctoral Research Associate and Lecturer in Latin American Studies

BEN GERLOFS (Ph.D. Rutgers University). Ben Gerlofs works at the intersection of urban, cultural, political, and historical geography. His current projects are concentrated around three major foci: 1) the political economy of urbanization in historical perspective; 2) the dynamics of contemporary urban social movements; and 3) processes related to neighborhood change, including but not limited to gentrification. Much of his work has explored these issues in the dynamic hyper-metropolis that is Mexico City—the most populous urban area in the western hemisphere—whose historic neighborhoods are being demographically and aesthetically altered at an incredible rate, and whose systems of governance are on the edge of wholesale renovation as the city sheds the guise of the Federal District and is reborn as the State of Mexico City for the first time since the Mexican Revolution. While at Princeton, he taught courses on social justice and the urban revolution in Latin America, as well as a seminar on Mexico City that included a field study component (generously supported by PLAS and a Learning Across Borders (LABs) grant) over the 2019 Spring Recess. Princeton also afforded him the time, space, and resources to complete several pieces of research, which have been published or are forthcoming (as of Fall 2020) in Urban Geography, Urban Studies, and the Annals of the American Association of Geographers. He also devoted time to his book manuscript, A Right to Leviathan: Grassroots Politics and the Urban Revolution in Mexico City, which is currently under contract and expected in 2021, and to ongoing research on the political, social, and geophysical dynamics associated with Mexico City’s 1985 and 2017 Earthquakes. Since leaving Princeton, Dr. Gerlofs has taken a position as an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Hong Kong, where is teaching courses in urban geography and beginning new transnational comparative research on gentrification and neighborhood change in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Mexico City.