Winner: Eric Gurevitch, University of Chicago for his dissertation, "Everyday Sciences in Southwest India”. The dissertation prize comes with a $1500.00 cash prize and a citation.
"Everyday Sciences in Southwest India" explores a set of scholarly controversies in medieval southwest India. These include disputes over the meaning of experience, the proper language with which to compose practical sciences, the nature of vision, the social construction of caste differences, and the relationship of diet to medicine. The dissertation traces these disputes among a close-knit group of scholars – the majority of whom were Jain – who wrote in Sanskrit and a regional language they called “New Kannada.” Using this new vernacular register, these scholars composed texts they called “everyday sciences,” and they used their scholarship to forge a new place for Jains and Jainism in wider society. They compiled domestic recipes, solved bureaucratic mathematical problems, predicted the weather, provided instructions for locating underground water, and waxed poetic about medicine for humans as well as animals.