Professional and Biographical Information

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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, The Conversation, Indian Express, and many other venues, and he and his work have been profiled in The Washington Post, NPR, The Guardian, Times of India, and elsewhere. His most recent book Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough (New York University Press 2020) has been profiled in these and other venues, 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 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 the review text, Asian America: Sociological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, which is in its second edition (Polity Press, 2014 and 2021). He has served as president of the board of the South Asian American Digital Archive. 

His professional service also includes serving as the Faculty Equity and Inclusion Office at Amherst College. He has served as chair of the Asia and Asian America 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 research awards. He has spoken to community, media, and academic audiences on topics of immigration, Asian American and Indian American communities, entrepreneurship, identity, culture, race, education, 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.

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