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Sardar Patel Award Ceremony

The 2009 Sardar Patel Award is presented to Dr. Gayatri A. Menon.

Saturday, May 29, 2010
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
UCLA Covel Commons
Salon A
Los Angeles, CA 90095


The Sardar Patel award was created to honor the best doctoral dissertation on any aspect of modern India - social sciences, humanities, education and fine arts - in any U.S. University or academic institution awarding the Ph.D.

The 2009 award recipient is Dr. Gayatri A. Menon for her dissertation entitled "Living Conditions: Citizens, 'Squatters,' and the Politics of Accommodation in Mumbai" from Cornell University. Please join us as we present the award to Dr. Menon and learn more about the selected dissertation during her presentation.

About the Recipient:

Gayatri Menon is currently a Post Doctoral Associate at the department of  Development Sociology at Cornell University.  She received her PhD from the same department in 2009, as well as her Masters degree in 2001.  Prior to graduate school she worked in India for several years on issues related to the livelihoods challenges facing the rural poor in Maharashtra, and on biodiversity and agricultural practices in Garhwal. She received her BA from Mount Holyoke College in 1992, having designed her own major in Development Studies.

About the Dissertation:

Dr. Menon's dissertation provides a historically informed examination of the conditions under which pavement dwellers in contemporary Mumbai are compelled to live in order to survive.  Among the most impoverished and politically marginalized populations of Mumbai, pavement dwellers have long been an element of the city’s, and the nation’s, politics of belonging.  Their precipitously located dwellings on the city’s pavements, and the frequent evictions that they are subjected to, are indicative of the material and political alienation of pavement dwellers from the body politic. Investigating how these violent conditions of life are produced and legitimized is the task to which my dissertation attends. Through a historicization of the living conditions of pavement dwellers, the ragged encampments that line the streets of Mumbai are tied to the broader politics of sovereignty in postcolonial India, i.e. the political configuration of land and life, which have rendered pavement dwellers as a population that has run out of place to live.


The Covel Commons building is located at the corner of De Neve Drive and Charles E. Young Drive North (right before it turns into Young Drive West).

Please enter the Sunset Village Parking structure from De Neve Drive.

To get to the structure, please exit Sunset Blvd off the 405 North bound freeway. Make a right onto Bellagio Drive (just after Veteran Ave) and a left at the fork for De Neve Drive. Building will be on right hand side.  (The campus map is currently showing a possible detour at Bellagio Drive. If this is still the case tomorrow morning, please follow these directions instead: Once exiting the 405 freeway at Sunset Blvd, stay on Sunset Blvd for approximately 1.5 miles, make a right at the light onto Westwood Plaza, then a second immediate right onto Charles E. Young Drive North. Then make a right onto De Neve Drive with the building and parking structure on your left.)

For a campus map, please click here and type in “Covel Commons” after clicking on the search icon.

Parking available at Sunset Village (SV) lot $10/day. For campus map and parking directions, please visit

Cost : Free

Juliana Espinosa
Search International Institute website.