Professional and Biographical Information


Ph.D., Sociology, Cornell University
M.A., Sociology, Cornell University
B.A., Psychology, Carleton College, with distinction

Research Interests

Asian America, race/gender/class intersectionality, white supremacy, sociology of immigration, education, work, culture.

Pawan Dhingra is an author, professor, and former curator and senior advisor of the Smithsonian Institution exhibition, Beyond Bollywood: Asian Indian Americans Shape the Nation. His byline includes The New York TimesCNN, Time MagazineThe Conversation, and many other venues, and he and his work have been profiled in The Washington PostNPRThe GuardianTimes of India, and elsewhere. His most recent and award-winning monograph is Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough (New York University Press 2020), which The Wall Street Journal has said, “offers a fascinating look at a growing subculture,” and which author Min Jin Lee has said, "gets to the root of education obsessions." He speaks from this work in the Netflix documentary, Spelling the Dream. He is the author of the multiple award-winning Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream (Stanford University Press, 2012), which also has been profiled nationwide and internationally. He also authored the award-winning Managing Multicultural Lives: Asian American Professionals and the Challenge of Multiple Identities (Stanford University Press, 2007). Professor Dhingra co-authored Asian America: Sociological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, which is in its second edition (Polity Press, 2014 and 2021). He is the President-elect/President of the Association for Asian American Studies. He has served as president of the board of the South Asian American Digital Archive. 

Before serving as associate provost and associate dean of the faculty, his other professional service includes having served as the Faculty Equity and Inclusion Office in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Amherst College. He has served as chair of the Asia and Asian America section and as secretary/treasurer of the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association, on journal boards, reviewer for exhibitions, book presses, foundations and journals, and other commitments. He has received various grants, fellowships, and teaching and research awards. He has spoken to community, media, and academic audiences on topics of immigration, Asian America, entrepreneurship, race, education, DEI, and inequality. He is an active mentor.

Professor Dhingra joined Amherst College after serving as professor and chair of sociology and professor of American studies at Tufts University, as an associate professor of sociology at Oberlin College, and as an assistant professor of sociology at Bucknell University. 

Teaching Interests

Professor Dhingra’s teaching interests include Asian American studies, inequality, immigration, race/racism, identity, and culture. He has received three teaching awards/recognitions.