2023 Saller Prize Recipients Announced

May 16, 2023 (last updated on June 12, 2023)

Pranathi Diwakar, from the Department of Sociology, and Paula Martin, from the Department of Comparative Human Development, have been selected as the 2023 Saller Prize Recipients 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.”

Martin’s dissertation, Practicing Gender: The Meanings and Uses of Gender Affirming Care for Youth in the United States, ethnographically examines distinct forms taken in recent years by gender affirming care—the set of social and clinical interventions (including hormonal therapy and surgical interventions) which seek to align a person's attributes with a gender other than the one assigned to them at birth. She focuses in particular on the imagined futures of gender and development underwriting these forms of care. The thesis also examines how departures from normative developmental trajectories are managed and experienced by trans youth, their families, and medical specialists who work with them. In his nominations letter, Eugene Raikhel, Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development, wrote, “Martin’s dissertation represents a timely and original contribution to the social science literatures on medicine, gender, and youth. Through careful empirical research and theorization, this dissertation offers a nuanced understanding of gender affirming care that recognizes the complex ways that young people, families, and clinicians, negotiate departures from normative trajectories of gender development.”

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 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.

A full list of all Saller Prize recipients is available here.