Every semester, CATL sponsors a bookclub to discuss books that broadly impact teaching, learning and life on campus. Fall 2013 saw an invested group of faculty and staff discussing Whistling Vivaldi, an insider’s view into Claude M. Steele’s research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity. Dr. Gaurav Bansal offered this review of the book.
In Whistling Vivaldi Claude Steele describes that no one is immune from the threat or fear of being stereotyped – that is the fear of what other people could think about us solely because of our race, gender, age, etc. Claude talks about the series of creative experiments he has carried out where he deliberately induced or cleverly removed the stereotype threat. The book shows that the fear of being stereotyped hinders our performance – and it affects each group differently. It affects African Americans on test of intellectual abilities, as it hinders the Math performance of female students among others. The findings presented in this book unearth the powerful and prevalent ways in which group identity affects us all. Every one of us is part of some group affected by negative perceptions and stereotype threats. The awareness of this commonality should help us reconcile with the experiences of others around us.
Copies of Steele’s book are available from the CATL library in IS1144. Interested in suggesting a book or joining us for the Spring Bookclub? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org