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Student Spotlight: Pranathi Diwakar

Pranathi Diwakar, Department of Sociology and Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences, has been selected for the 2023 Saller Prize by a faculty review committee.

Diwakar’s dissertation, Resounding Caste: Practices of Distinction, Urban Segregation, and Musical Politics in Chennai, India, studies two caste-divided music scenes: the Carnatic scene (Carnatic being classical Indian music mainly performed and enjoyed by Brahmins) and the Gaana scene (Gaana being a type of music associated with slums and the previously untouchable castes, or Dalits). The two scenes belong to different social worlds. They map onto different urban spaces. In his nomination letter, Marco Garrido, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, wrote “Her project gives us a more sophisticated—and contemporary—theorization of caste. It helps us better understand how caste intersects with other social divisions, and, more broadly, how age-old inequalities persist despite public efforts to eradicate them. The dissertation is a marvel and will make a truly groundbreaking book.”

This year’s faculty review committee members were Susan Burns (Department of History), Michele Friedner (Department of Comparative Human Development), Mikhail Golosov (Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics), Paul Poast (Department of Political Science), François Richard (Department of Anthropology), Michael Rossi (Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science), and Kristen Schilt (Department of Sociology)

The award is named for Richard P. Saller, the tenth Provost of the University of Chicago (2002-2006) and former Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences (1994-2002). Professor Saller joined the University of Chicago as an Associate Professor of Anthropology in 1984. He was awarded the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1992 and was named the Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor. He left UChicago in 2007 for Stanford University where he served as Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences until 2018. He is presently the the Kleinheinz Family Professor of European Studies at Stanford.

Diwakar’s research interests include social change, caste and social difference, music, urban and cultural sociology, with a focus on qualitative methods including interviewing and ethnographic methods.

Congratulations, Pranathi, on this great honor!