Shalini Shankar in Conversation with Stefan Fatsis

  • May 25, 2019

The author of Beeline comes to DC on Tues., May 28th, at 6:30PM!

Shalini Shankar in Conversation with Stefan Fatsis

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, in Beeline, anthropologist Shalini Shankar argues that, far from being simply overstressed and overscheduled, Gen Z spelling bee competitors are learning crucial 21st-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 an anthropologist, writer and ethnographer of stories, especially of the Asian American diaspora. Shankar, who teaches at Northwestern University, takes special care in uncovering nuance in Asian American stories. She is currently interim director of Northwestern’s Asian American Studies program, and, through her research, has contributed immensely to the field.

About the Moderator: Stefan Fatsis is a journalist living in Washington. He is the author of three books: Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players; A Few Seconds of Panic: A Sportswriter Plays in the NFL; and Wild and Outside: How A Renegade Minor League Revived the Spirit of Baseball in America's Heartland. A former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered," he is a cohost of Slate's weekly sports podcast, "Hang Up and Listen." He is working on a book about Merriam-Webster and the future of the dictionary.

At Kramerbooks, 1517 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC. Click here for info.

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