Shalini Shankar is a sociocultural and linguistic anthropologist whose central concerns include race, ethnicity, language, youth, and immigration. She has conducted research in Silicon Valley, CA, and in New York, NY, and is the author of three books. The first, Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class, and Success in Silicon Valley (Duke Press, 2008) analyzes the progress working class and middle class South Asian American youth and communities during the high tech boom and bust. The second, Advertising Diversity: Ad Agencies and the Creation of Asian American Consumers (Duke Press, 2015), examines how race and ethnicity are leveraged in a "post-racial" era of American advertising. The third is Beeline: How Spelling Bees Reveal Generation Z's New Path to Success (Basic Books, 2019), which examines the growth and proliferation of spelling competitions as a way to understand ideas about childhood, immigration, and language in the United States. Shankar is a 2017 John S. Guggenheim Fellow and her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Spencer Foundation for Research Related to Education.
When Zaila Avant-garde, 14, won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee on July 8, 2021, she became the first Black American to win in the competition’s history. Shalini Shankar, a scholar of spelling bees, breaks down the importance of this historical moment. Why is it news that an African American won this championship? It’s significant […]