Whistling Vivaldi

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In Whistling Vivaldi, described as a 'beautifully-written account' of the relationship between stereotypes and identity, Claude Steele offers a vivid first-person detailing of the research that brought him to his groundbreaking conclusions. Through the telling of dramatic personal stories, Dr. Steele shares the process of constructing and completing experiments and statistical studies that show that exposing subjects to stereotypes - merely reminding a group of female math majors about to take a math test, for example, that women are considered naturally inferior to men at math - impairs their performance in the area affected by the stereotype. Steele's conclusions shed new light on a host of American social phenomena, from the racial and gender gaps in standardized test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men. As Homi Bhabha states, 'Steele's book is both urgent and important in understanding the tyranny of the stereotype and liberating ourselves from its derogatory, one-dimensional vision.' Whistling Vivaldi presents a new way of looking at identity and the way it is shaped by social expectations, and, in Richard Thompson Ford's words, 'offers a clear and compelling analysis and, better still, straightforward and practical solutions.'