Whitman announces 2013 Summer Read Program book selection

April 16, 2013

Whistling Vivaldi“Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do,” by Claude Steele

Whitman’s annual Summer Read Program offers new students the opportunity to immerse themselves in our academic culture during Orientation. They are asked to read the book in advance of their arrival to Whitman and be prepared to discuss it with faculty and fellow students during their first week on campus.

This year’s selection is “Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do,” by Claude Steele, an internationally recognized social psychologist and dean of the I. James Quillen Dean for the School of Education at Stanford University.

The book chronicles Steele’s scientific journey in studying stereotypes and his pioneering discovery of “stereotype threat” – the profound impact that stereotypes have on those who are subjected to them. In devoting his academic career to understanding how stereotypes affect individuals’ identities and behavior, Steele describes how he and his colleagues explored and uncovered the mechanisms by which the negative effects of stereotypes may actually reinforce and perpetuate negative stereotyping. “Whistling Vivaldi” takes the reader on a fascinating odyssey in science that reveals as much about how social scientists study human behavior as it does about the stereotypes we routinely employ in everyday interactions with others.  
All Whitman staff, faculty and students and members of the Walla Walla Valley community are invited to join new students in reading this compelling work. In extending the Summer Read program to the local community, the college has purchased copies of the books for area libraries, and it is available for purchase at the College Bookstore.

In addition to reading the book, all are invited to participate in Summer Read Program activities over the course of the next academic year:

  • Aug. 31 – faculty panel presentation that will explore key themes and issues from Steele’s book from the perspectives of different disciplines. 
  • Oct. 10 – the author visits campus to deliver a lecture and share personal anecdotes from his experience researching and writing the book.

Throughout the fall, watch for a series of special events, guest lectures, concerts, and art projects reflecting major themes from “Whistling Vivaldi.”