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Congratulations to Natasha Piano for being selected as one of this year's recipients of the Richard Saller Dissertation Prize. Natasha is a graduate student in the Department of Political Science and MAPSS Alumna.  

Natasha Piano’s dissertation, Elites and Democracy: Italian Elite Theory, American Political Science and the Problem of Plutocracy, demonstrates that American political scientists such as Seymour Martin Lipset and Robert Dahl turned the writings of Vilfredo Pareto, Gaetano Mosca, and Robert Michels – and to some extent, Joseph Schumpeter – on their heads. John McCormick, Professor and her committee chair, wrote of her thesis, which is now under book contract with Princeton University Press, “Piano’s dissertation will make an enormous impact internationally—not only in political theory and intellectual history but in mainstream social science as well. After all, she is effectively re-writing the history of American political science, and offering substantive prescriptions for our own “neo-liberal” and hyper-plutocratic political moment.”

This year’s faculty review committee members were Ufuk Akcigit (Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics), Michael Fisch (Department of Anthropology), Julian Go (Department of Sociology), Leslie Kay (Department of Psychology), Jonathan Lyon (Department of History), and Paul Poast (Department of Political Science). I thank them for their work on this effort.

The award is named for Richard P. Saller, the tenth Provost of the University of Chicago (2002-2006) and former Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences (1994-2002). Professor Saller joined the University of Chicago as an Associate Professor of Anthropology in 1984. He was awarded the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1992 and was named the Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor. He left UChicago in 2007 for Stanford University where he served as Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences until 2018. He is presently the Kleinheinz Family Professor of European Studies at Stanford.

A full list of all Saller Prize recipients is available at https://socialsciences.uchicago.edu/about/divisional-awards/saller-prize.