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Faculty & Research

Natasha Kumar Warikoo

Associate Professor of Education

Natasha Kumar Warikoo

Degree:  Ph.D., Harvard University, (2005)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Phone:  617.495.2488
Personal Site:   Link to Site
Vitae/CV:   Natasha Kumar Warikoo.pdf
Office Hours Contact:  Email the Faculty Assistant to set up the appointment
Faculty Assistant:  Kevin Walsh


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 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. Her first book, Balancing Acts: Youth Culture in the Global City, analyzes youth culture among children of immigrants attending 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.

Warikoo was named a Guggenheim Fellow for 2017-18. 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.

Warikoo's research has been published in numerous scholarly journals, and she has won grants and awards from American Sociological Association, the British Academy, Guggenheim Foundation, National Science Foundation, Nuffield Foundation, and Russell Sage Foundation. In addition, she is a frequent contributor to newspapers. 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. Warikoo was a teacher in New York City's public schools for four years, and also spent time working at the U.S. Department of Education and as a fellow with the Teachers Network Leadership Institute. She completed her Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University, and B.Sc. and B.A. in mathematics and philosophy at Brown University.

Click here to see a full list of Natasha Warikoo's courses.

Areas of Expertise
Visiting Scholar, Russell Sage Foundation,(2014)

Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award for Balancing Acts: Youth Culture in the Global City [ASA International Migration Section],(2012)

William E. Milton Fund Grant, Harvard University “Elite Undergraduates on Multiculturalism and Immigration: A Cross-National Study”,(2010)

British Academy Social Science Small Grant: "Discourses on Multiculturalism among University Students in Britain and the United States”,(2008)

American Sociological Association Section on Children and Youth, Best Student Paper Award,(2006)

Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University Dissertation Research Award,(2004)

National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Award,(2004)

National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Fellowship, Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy, Harvard University,(2003)

Sponsored Projects

Asian Americans in Suburban America: Academic Competition, Youth Culture, and Racial Change (2016-2018)
Russell Sage Foundation

How does the settlement of the nation’s most successful immigrant groups shape the nature of racial boundaries, beliefs about success and achievement, and youth cultures? This project studies the impact of an increased Asian American population alongside increased competition at high schools in wealthy suburban communities. The findings will contribute to our understanding of assimilation and racial change. The study employs 200 in-depth interviews with white, Chinese American, and Indian American students and parents in two wealthy suburban communities—one with a large, growing Asian American population—and ethnographic observations and staff interviews at the local high school in both.

Warikoo, N. "Diversity in US and British Higher Education in National Context" in Routledge International Handbook of Diversity Studies, ed. by S. Vertovec, New York, Routledge.,(2015)

Warikoo, N. and de Novais, J. "Colorblindness and Diversity: Race Frames and Their Consequences for White Undergraduates at Elite US Universities." Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(6).,(2015)

Warikoo, N. and Fuhr, C. "Legitimating Status: Perceptions of Meritocracy and Inequality among Undergraduates at an Elite British University." British Education Research Journal, 40(4).,(2014)

Warikoo, N. and Deckman, S. "Beyond the Numbers: Institutional Influences on Experiences with Diversity on Elite College Campuses." Sociological Forum, 29(4).,(2014)

Warikoo, N. "Who gets Admitted to College?" Los Angeles Times (July 20, Op-Ed).,(2013)

Warikoo, N. "Culture, Diversity, and Education" in Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education, ed. J. Banks. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.,(2012)

Warikoo, N. "Balancing Acts: Youth Culture in the Global City." University of California Press.,(2011)

Warikoo, N. “Youth Culture and Peer Status among Children of Immigrants in New York and London: Assessing the Cultural Explanation for Downward Assimilation,” in Beyond Stereotype: Minority Children of Immigrants in Urban Schools, ed. R. Saran and R. Diaz. Rotterdam: Sense.,(2010)

Warikoo, N. “Symbolic Boundaries and School Structure in Multiethnic Schools.” American Journal of Education.,(2010)

Warikoo, N. and P. Carter. “Cultural Explanations for Racial and Ethnic Stratification in Academic Achievement: A Call for a New and Improved Theory”. Review of Educational Research.,(2009)

Warikoo, N. “Racial Authenticity among Second Generation Youth in Multiethnic New York and London.” Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media, and the Arts 35(6): 388-408.,(2007)

Warikoo, N. “The Continuing Significance of Race and Ethnicity in The Melting Pot,” in America’s Americans: The Populations of the United States, ed. P. Davies and I.Morgan. London: ISA Press.,(2007)

Warikoo, N. “Two Schools, Worlds Apart: Lessons from London on How Small Schools Help Foster Racial Integration.” Education Week 25(31): 38.,(2006)

Warikoo, N. “In a Teenage Waistland, Fitting In.” The Washington Post (July 31, p.B1).,(2005)

Warikoo, N. “Gender and Ethnic Identity among Second Generation Indo-Caribbeans.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 28(5): 803-831.,(2005)

Warikoo, N. “Cosmopolitan Ethnicity: Second Generation Indo-Caribbean Identities,” in Becoming New Yorkers: Ethnographies of the New Second Generation, ed. P. Kasinitz, J. Mollenkopf, and M. Waters. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.,(2004)

Warikoo, N. “Race and the Teacher-Student Relationship: Interpersonal Connections between West Indian Students and their Teachers in a New York City High School.” Race, Ethnicity and Education 7(2): 135-147.,(2004)

Warikoo, N. “Outcomes of Reduced Class Size in High School Math Classrooms,” in Taking Action with Teacher Research, ed. E. Meyers and F. Rust. New York: Heinemann.,(2003)

Eastern Sociological Society,(2011-present)

American Educational Research Association

American Sociological Association

Council for European Studies

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