[URBANTH-L]List Member: New Publication

Shalini Shankar sshankar at northwestern.edu
Tue Jan 13 20:05:28 EST 2009

Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class, and Success in Silicon Valley
Shalini Shankar

Duke University Press
264 pages (October 2008)
Paperback - $22.95
Cloth - $79.95


Desi Land is Shalini Shankar¹s lively ethnographic account of South Asian
American teen culture during the Silicon Valley dot com boom. Shankar
focuses on how South Asian Americans, or ³Desis² define and manage what it
means to be successful individuals and community members in a place brimming
with the promise of technology. Between 1999 and 2001, Shankar spent many
months ³kickin¹ it² with a diverse range of Desi teenagers at three Silicon
Valley high schools and has since followed the lives and stories of these
teens. The diverse high-school students who populate Desi Land are Muslims,
Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs from South Asia and other diasporic locations;
they include first- to fourth-generation immigrants whose parents¹ careers
vary from assembly-line workers to engineers and CEOs. Shankar uses this
heterogeneity to illustrate how teens differently understand what it means
to be ³Desi² and accordingly organize themselves into social cliques.
Whether discussing instant messaging or arranged marriages, ³Desi bling² or
the pressures of the model minority myth, Shankar foregrounds the teens¹
voices, perspectives, and stories. By analyzing how Desi teens¹ conceptions
and realization of success are influenced by community values, cultural
practices, language use, and material culture, she offers a nuanced portrait
of diasporic formations in a transforming urban region.

Learn more about Desi Land at:

Read a review of Desi Land at:

Book reviewers: to request a press copy, contact Laura Sell <lsell at duke.edu>
Instructors: to request an exam copy for course use consideration, visit

Shalini Shankar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
Asian American Studies
Northwestern University
1810 Hinman Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
Phone: 847-467-1638
Email: sshankar at northwestern.edu

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