Natasha Warikoo

Natasha Warikoo

Fellow: Awarded 2017
Field of Study: Education

Competition: US & Canada

Natasha Warikoo is an expert on the relationships between education, racial and ethnic diversity, and cultural processes in schools and universities. Her most recent book, The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities (University of Chicago Press, 2016), illuminates how undergraduates attending Ivy League universities and Oxford University conceptualize race and meritocracy. The book emphasizes the contradictions, moral conundrums, and tensions on campus related to affirmative action and diversity, and how these vary across racial and national lines. Warikoo’s first book, Balancing Acts: Youth Culture in the Global City (University of California Press, 2011), analyzes youth culture among children of immigrants attending diverse, low-performing high schools in New York City and London. Balancing Acts won the Thomas and Znaneicki Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association’s International Migration Section. Both of these projects involve extensive ethnographic research in the United States and Britain.

Warikoo’s research has also been published in scholarly journals (American Journal of Education; British Education Research Journal; Poetics; Race, Ethnicity and Education; Ethnic and Racial Studies(also here); Review of Educational Research; Sociological Forum), edited books, and newspapers (Boston Globe, Education Week, Hechinger Report, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post), and she has won grants, fellowships and awards from American Sociological Association, the British Academy, National Science Foundation, Nuffield Foundation, and Russell Sage Foundation. Her recent articles can be accessed for free here.

At Harvard Warikoo teaches courses on racial inequality and the role of culture in K-12 and higher education. Prior to her academic career Warikoo was a teacher in New York City’s public schools for four years, and also spent time working at the US Department of Education and as a fellow with the Teachers Network Leadership Institute. Warikoo completed her PhD in sociology from Harvard University, and BSc and BA in mathematics and philosophy at Brown University.

During her year as a Guggenheim Fellow, Warikoo will work on a book about racial change in suburban America. She is studying how the settlement of the nation’s most successful immigrant groups in privileged, previously predominantly white communities shapes the nature of racial boundaries, beliefs about success and achievement, and youth cultures. The findings will have implications for how to address racial diversity and student competition in privileged communities.

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