Upcoming Event

Sharmila Sen

presents

Not Quite Not White:
Losing and Finding Race in America

This event includes a book signing

Date

Sep
14
Friday
September 14, 2018
7:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes SHARMILA SEN—executive editor-at-large at Harvard University Press—for a discussion of her debut book, Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America.

About Not Quite Not White

At the age of 12, Sharmila Sen emigrated from India to the U.S. The year was 1982, and everywhere she turned, she was asked to self-report her race—on INS forms, at the doctor's office, in middle school. Never identifying with a race in the India of her childhood, she rejects her new "not quite" designation—not quite white, not quite black, not quite Asian—and spends much of her life attempting to blend into American whiteness. But after her teen years trying to assimilate—watching shows like General Hospital and The Jeffersons, dancing to Duran Duran and Prince, and perfecting the art of Jell-O no-bake desserts—she is forced to reckon with the hard questions: What does it mean to be white, why does whiteness retain the magic cloak of invisibility while other colors are made hypervisible, and how much does whiteness figure into Americanness?

Part memoir, part manifesto, Not Quite Not White is a searing appraisal of race and a path forward for the next not quite not white generation—a witty and sharply honest story of discovering that not-whiteness can be the very thing that makes us American.

Praise

“In this intimate, passionate look at race in America, Sen considers the price paid by nonwhite immigrants who try to become white, while always wearing a smiling face. Her provocative solution is for people like us to defiantly embrace not being white. That feels just right to me.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer and The Refugees

"A stylish, sharp, witty, and honest analysis, from an engagingly personal perspective, of that inexorable American problem—race. By the time I reached the end—very quickly, I must add, for it was snappy in its pacing—I was moved enough to want to stand up and applaud for a long time." —Neel Mukherjee, author of A State of Freedom

“[A] captivating memoir . . . [a] heartfelt account of how newcomers carve a space for themselves in the melting pot of America.” Publishers Weekly

Sharmila Sen
Sharmila Sen

Sharmila Sen

Sharmila Sen grew up in Calcutta, India, and immigrated to the United States when she was twelve. She was educated in the public schools of Cambridge, Mass., received her A.B. from Harvard and her Ph.D. from Yale in English literature. As an assistant professor at Harvard, she taught courses on literature from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean for seven years. Currently, she is executive editor-at-large at Harvard University Press. Sharmila has lived and worked in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. She has lectured around the world on postcolonial literature and culture and published essays on racism and immigration. Sharmila resides in Cambridge, Mass., with her architect husband and their three children.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.

While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.

Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:

  • Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
  • Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
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Ordering a signed book by phone:

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FAQ:

Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.

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No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.

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General Info
(617) 661-1515
info@harvard.com

Media Inquiries
mediainquiries@harvard.com

Accessibility Inquiries
access@harvard.com

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