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Irene Silverblatt, Professor, Cultural Anthropology

Irene Silverblatt
Contact Info:
Office Location:  101 Social Sciences
Office Phone:  (919) 641-0319
Email Address: send me a message


Ph.D.University of Michigan, Ann Arbor1981
MAUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor1971
BASwarthmore College1970

Comparative Colonial Studies
Globalization of Culture
Race and Ethnicity
Political Economy
Research Interests:

Current projects: Politics of memory, historical trauma, poetry and redemption in Central Europe

Irene Silverblatt, Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1981, researches the cultural dimensions of state- building, colonization, and the making of the modern world. She has focused on the relation of gender, racial discourses, and historical memory to the construction and experience of power in Latin America. She is currently researching historical trauma and the accompanying politics of memory generated in modern times. Questions spawned by the holocaust and the colonization of native peoples are also explored in a moral context attached to reconciliation and forgiveness. Her publications include Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru (1987); "Imperial Dilemmas, the Politics of Kinship, Inca Reconstructions of History," (1988), winner of the American Society for Ethnohistory's Heizer prize; and the recent book, Modern Inquisitions: Peru and the Colonial Origins of the Civilized World, along with numerous articles.

Areas of Interest:

Politics of culture
colonialism and modernity
politics of memory
historical trauma and forgiveness
South America
Central Europe


colonialism • modernity • gender • race • memory • reconciliation • politics • Central Europe

Current Ph.D. Students  

  • Anna Kivlan  
  • Lorien Olive  
  • Leigh M. Campoamor  
  • Arianne Dorval  
  • Kataki Pant  
  • Tracy Brown  
  • Gonzalo Lamana  
  • Tracy Brown  
  • Gonzalo Lamana  
Postdocs Mentored

  • Paloma Fernandez-Racines (1998/08-1999/07)  
  • Paloma Fernandez-Racines (1998/08-1999/07)  
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. with Irene Silverblatt and Helene Silverblatt editors and introduction, translated by Jerry Glenn and Florian Birkmayer with Helene Silverblatt and Irene Silverblatt, Harvest of Blossoms: Poems from a Life Cut Short (October, 2008) [html]
  2. Silverblatt, I, Modern Inquisitions: Peru and the Colonial Origins of the Civilized World (2004), Duke University Press  [abs]
  3. Silverblatt, I, Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru (1987), Princeton University Press  [abs]
  4. Silverblatt, I, The Black Legend and Global Conspiracies: The Spanish Inquisition, Race-Thinking and the Emerging Modern World, in Rereading the Black Legend, edited by Greer, M; Mignolo, W (2008), University of Chicago Press
  5. Silverblatt, I, New World Christians and New World Fears in Colonial Peru, in From the Margins: Historical Anthropology and its Futures, edited by Axel, BK (2002), Duke University Press (Reprint of "New World Christians...." published in Comparative Studies in Society and History, 2000.)