Shalini Shankar - "Beeline" - Summerson Carr

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Shalini Shankar

"In this compassionate ethnography, Shankar, a professor of anthropology and Asian-American studies, argues that the poised, proficient young spellers who participate in the National Spelling Bee should be seen as a bellwether for their “camera-ready, organized, driven, and goal-oriented” generation, members of which understand the importance of developing “human capital” early in life."––Publishers Weekly

Shalini Shankar discusses Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z's New Path to Success. She will be joined in conversation by Summerson Carr. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book: At first glance, Generation Z (youth born after 1997) seems to be made up of anxious overachievers, hounded by Tiger Moms and constantly tracked on social media. One would think that competitors in the National Spelling Bee—the most popular brain sport in America—would be the worst off. Counterintuitively, anthropologist Shalini Shankar argues that, far from being simply overstressed and overscheduled, Gen Z spelling bee competitors are learning crucial twenty-first-century skills from their high-powered lives, displaying a sophisticated understanding of self-promotion, self-direction, and social mobility. Drawing on original ethnographic research, including interviews with participants, judges, and parents, Shankar examines the outsize impact of immigrant parents and explains why Gen Z kids are on a path to success.

About the author: Shalini Shankar is Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal about Generation Z’s New Path to Success (Basic Books 2019), as well as Advertising Diversity: Ad Agencies and the Creation of Asian American Consumers (Duke Press 2015) and Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class and Success in Silicon Valley (Duke Press 2008). She is a cultural and linguistic anthropologist whose ethnographic research focuses on youth, media, language use, race & ethnicity, and Asian diasporas. She is the mother of two Gen Z children.

About the interlocutor: E. Summerson Carr is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Service Administration, and an affiliate of the Department of Anthropology and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Professor Carr received a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Social Work at the University of Michigan, where she also earned an M.S.W., an M.A. in Anthropology, and a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies.

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637