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Northwestern University

Shalini Shankar

New Knowledge for a Complex World

Research Profile

ethnicity, YOuth and media 

Shalini Shankar is a sociocultural and linguistic anthropologist who explores race and ethnicity, youth and migration, language use and media. She has studied South Asian American youth and communities in Silicon Valley, advertising agencies in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and spelling bee participants across the United States. She is the author of three books: Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal about Generation Z’s New Path to Success (Basic Books, 2019); Advertising Diversity: Ad Agencies and the Creation of Asian American Consumers (Duke University Press, 2015), and Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class, and Success in Silicon Valley (Duke University Press, 2008).

Shalini Shankar

The emphasis on research is consistent throughout Northwestern, and especially at Weinberg College. I feel very fortunate in the way I’ve developed my career here.”

— Professor of Anthropology Shalini Shankar

Defining Generation Z

In 2017, Shankar was awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to research Generation Z and how immigrants and minorities have helped to shape and define this demographic category. She is the recipient of numerous other grants and fellowships, including two National Science Foundation postdoctoral research grants, a Wenner-Gren Foundation postdoctoral research grant, a Social Science Research Council Dissertation Fellowship, and a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship.

Shankar received her Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University and her B.A. from Wesleyan University.


Interviews conducted for the book "Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z's New Path to Success"

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