The Mohini Jain Presidential Chair in Jain Studies Best Dissertation Prize

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. 

Eric Gurevitch photo

 "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.    

Eric Moses Gurevitch is a historian of science focusing on medieval and early modern South Asia. He recently received a PhD jointly in the Department of South Asian Languages & Civilizations and the Committee on the Conceptual & Historical Studies of Science. His research aims to tell a more global history of science in which unexpected voices, practices and events come to stand alongside more standard narratives. In 2022-23, Eric will be a National Endowment for the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University.