Anthropologist Shalini Shankar ’94 has been named one of 173 recipients of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for 2017. Winners of the annual competition were chosen from a pool of 3,000 applicants that includes scholars, artists and scientists who are advanced professionals in their respective fields. She was chosen on the basis of prior achievement as a productive scholar who has published several works on teen and youth culture, as well as her exceptional promise to continue research in the social sciences.
Shankar, who studied anthropology in Wesleyan and received her PhD in the field from New York University, is a sociocultural and linguistic anthropologist. An associate professor of anthropology and Asian American studies at Northwestern University, she has conducted ethnographic research with South Asian American youth and communities, and is one of three Guggenheim Fellows of Indian origin this year. The News India Times elaborated on her achievement:
Shankar will be based in Brooklyn, N.Y., during her fellowship and will research Generation Z, exploring how this demographic category can be defined in ways that more centrally account for the contributions of immigrants and minorities, according to the Guggenheim press release.
Shankar has written and studied the emerging generation of Indian-Americans and received numerous grants and fellowships. Her books include ‘Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal about Generation Z’s New Path to Success’ (Basic Books, May 2018); ‘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). Her co-edited volume ‘Language and Materiality: Theoretical and Ethnographic Explorations’ (with Jillian Cavanaugh) is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.
As a Guggenheim Fellow, Shankar receives a grant to further her research over the next year and allow her to work with as much flexibility and creative freedom as possible.