Shalini Shankar Associate Professor
Research and teaching interests
Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology, race/ ethnicity, media, youth culture, consumption, language and identity, Asian diasporas. Joint appointment with Asian American Studies.
Shalini Shankar is a sociocultural and linguistic anthropologist whose central concerns include media, consumption, race and ethnicity, youth culture, Asian America, and the South Asian diaspora. She has conducted research in Silicon Valley, CA, and in New York, NY. Shankar’s current research is funded by the National Science Foundation (grant no. 0924472) examines issues of diversity and representation in advertising. She is presently conducting ethnographic and sociolinguistic fieldwork in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in general market and Asian American advertising agencies. Areas of focus include: how advertisers create and produce representations of diversity, especially with regard to Asian Americans; how language, nationality, and other cultural markers are used to appeal to consumers; and how multicultural markets are being refashioned.
Shankar’s book, Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class, and Success in Silicon Valley (Duke University Press, In press), is based on her first research project. It focuses on Desi (South Asian American) youth in socieconomically and racially diverse high schools and analyzes how their everyday cultural and linguistic practices intersect with their immigration history and class status to impact their educational and career paths. One of the key questions she examines is what “success” means for Desis of different class and immigration backgrounds, and how such meanings articulate with this group’s broader characterization as a “model minority.”
“Reconsidering Language Use and Style among Youth of the New Immigration.” Forthcoming in Identities.
2011 “Asian American Youth Language Use: Perspectives Across Schools and Communities.” Review of Research in Education, Special Issue: “Youth Cultures, Language, and Literacy” Volume 35: 1-38.
2008 “Speaking like a Model Minority: ‘FOB’ Styles, Gender, and Racial
Meanings among Desi Teens in Silicon Valley.” Journal of Linguistic
Anthropology 18(2): 268-289.
2006 “Metaconsumptive Practices and the Circulation of Objectifications.” Journal of Material Culture 11(3): 293-317.
2009 “Reel to Real: Desi Teens' Linguistic Engagements with
Bollywood.” In Beyond Yellow English: Toward a Linguistic Anthropology of Asian Pacific America, Angela Reyes and Adrienne Lo, eds. pps. 309-324. New York: Oxford University Press [Reprinted from Pragmatics 14(2-3): 317-335, 2004]
2004a “FOBby or Tight?: ‘Multicultural Day’ and Other Struggles at Two Silicon Valley High Schools.” In Local Actions: Cultural Activism, Power and Public Life in America. Melissa Checker and Maggie Fishman, eds. pps. 184-207. New York: Columbia University Press.
Fellowships, grants, and awards
2011-2012 Advertising Agency: Producing Racial Imagery of Asian Americans. Northwestern University, University Research Grant
2010 Visiting Professor Program, Advertising Education Foundation, New York, NY.
2009-2012 Advertising Agency: Producing Racial Imagery of Asian Americans. National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Research Grant (No. 0924472).
2009-2010 The Post-Racial Turn. Research Workshop co-organized with Dr. Barnor Hesse. Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities & The Institute for Critical Race and Diaspora, Northwestern University
2009-2010 Advertising Agency: Producing Racial Imagery of Asian Americans. Northwestern University, University Research Grant
2008-2009 Asian American Advertising: Ethnographic and Sociolinguistic Perspectives. Northwestern University, University Research Grant