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Summer Reading

2014 Selection

Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us, by Claude Steele

In his new book, Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us, social psychologist Claude Steele helps us find answers to these questions based on findings from social psychology experiments. Steel's book sets forth an argument for understanding how contextual factors—not individual characteristics or personal beliefs motivated by prejudice or malice—help explain so-termed "racial achievement gaps" in education and ongoing societal racial and ethnic segregation.

The acclaimed social psychologist offers an insider's look at his research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity.

Claude M. Steele, who has been called "one of the few great social psychologists," offers a vivid first-person account of the research that supports his groundbreaking conclusions on stereotypes and identity. He sheds new light on American social phenomena from racial and gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men, and lays out a plan for mitigating these "stereotype threats" and reshaping American identities.

We look forward to welcoming Claude Steele to campus on Saturday, August 30, 2014 for a 7pm lecture in John M. Greene Hall.

For more information on Steele's work take a cyber walk to the Smith College Library.

Incoming students are expected to purchase and read the summer reading selection prior to arriving at Smith for Orientation. If purchasing the book is cost prohibitive please contact Anna Gohlke, Program Coordinator, at agohlke@smith.edu. There will be small group discussions held during Orientation.

Past Summer Reading Selections

2013: My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

2012: Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis by Alice Yaeger Kaplan

2011: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

2010: Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

2009: The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones

2008: Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey

2007: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

2006: Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder

2005: Kettle Bottom by Diane Gilliam Fisher

2004: The Gangster We Are All Looking For by Lê Thi Diem Thúy

2003: Atonement by Ian McEwan

2002: Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

2001: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

2000: My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki

1999: Respect by Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot