Irene M. Silverblatt
  • Irene M. Silverblatt

  • Professor of Cultural Anthropology, History and Women's Studies, Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • 201F Friedl Building
  • Campus Box 90091
  • Phone: (919) 684-3516
  • Fax: (919) 681-8483
  • Research Description

    Irene Silverblatt researches the cultural dimensions of power. She studies how “race-thinking” and gender relations were integral to the making of the modern world as well as how historical memory has shaped feelings of national belonging and demands for universal rights. These interests are both historical and contemporary, and have taken Silverblatt to the Inca Empire, the colonial Andes and contemporary Central/Eastern Europe. Her goal has been to explore the profound transformations in social identities, political sensibilities, and categories of “humanness” spawned by the “modern/civilized” world. With support from the Rockefeller, Guggenheim and Wenner Gren Foundations and Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, she has explored the Spanish Inquisition as a modern institution as well as the ways that gender construed power relations in Inca and Colonial Peru. These concerns about the cultural expressions of power, combined with an interest in the politics of memory and its relation to art, orient her next project. Research in central and eastern Europe explores the ways in which historical memory, particularly of the holocaust, is playing a role in the transformation of national ideologies as well as in the conceptualization of transnational, human rights. Her initial foray into this new arena was to edit Harvest of Blossoms: Poetry of a Life Cut Short. (with Helene Silverblatt). This volume is a collection of the poetry of our cousin, Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, who died in an SS labor camp in 1942.
  • Selected Publications

      • Irene Silverblatt and Helene Silverblatt editors and introduction, translated by Jerry Glenn and Florian Birkmayer with Helene Silverblatt and Irene Silverblatt.
      • (October, 2008).
      • Harvest of Blossoms: Poems from a Life Cut Short.
      • [web]
      • I.M. Silverblatt.
      • (December, 2004).
      • Modern Inquisitions: Peru and the Colonial Origins of the Civilized World.
      • Duke University Press.
      Publication Description

      Modern Inquisitions explores the cultural work of colonialism in the seventeenth century Peruvian Andes and attempts to address some of the complex, cultural practices that accompanied the institutionalization of state power in Europe and the colonial New World. A primary source of my investigation has been records from the Lima headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition. These documents show us the Inquisition's modern side: it was Europe's most advanced bureaucracy at the time and it helped instantiate the racialized categories of colonial rule that girded modern state-making.

      • I.M. Silverblatt.
      • (1987).
      • Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru.
      • Princeton University Press.
      Publication Description

      http://pup.princeton.edu/titles/2624.html

      • I.M. Silverblatt.
      • (2008).
      • "The Black Legend and Global Conspiracies: The Spanish Inquisition, Race-Thinking and the Emerging Modern World:.
      • In Margaret Greer and Walter Mignolo (Eds.),
      • Rereading the Black Legend
      • .
      • University of Chicago Press.
      • I.M. Silverblatt.
      • (2002).
      • "New World Christians and New World Fears in Colonial Peru".
      • In Brian Keith Axel (Eds.),
      • From the Margins: Historical Anthropology and its Futures
      • .
      • Duke University Press.
      • (Reprint of "New World Christians...." published in Comparative Studies in Society and History, 2000)
  • View All Publications
  • Specialties

    • Globalization of Culture
    • Political Economy
    • Nationalism
    • Gender
  • Education

      • PhD,
      • Anthropology,
      • University of Michigan,
      • 1981
      • MA,
      • Anthropology,
      • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
      • 1971
      • BA,
      • Sociology-Anthropology,
      • Swarthmore College,
      • 1970
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • “John Hope Franklin Center Book”, for Modern Inquisitions,
      • Duke University Press,
      • December, 2004
      • Subvention, "Program of Cultural Cooperation between Spain's Ministry of Culture and United States Universities, for publication of Modern Inquistions,
      • Ministry of Culture, Spanish Government,
      • July 2004
      • John Hope Franklin Center Book, "Modern Inquisitions",
      • Duke University Press,
      • March 2004
      • President,
      • American Society of Ethnohistory,
      • 2002
      • Fellow,
      • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard U,
      • 9/2001-5/2002
      • Frieda L. Miller Fellow,
      • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies,
      • 2001/2002
      • Kreeger-Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor,
      • Northwestern University,
      • 1997
      • Robert F. Heizer Prize,
      • American Society for Ethnohistory,
      • 1988
  • Teaching

    • CULANTH 499S.01
      • SENIOR DISTINCTION SEMINAR
      • Crowell 106
      • M 04:40 PM-07:10 PM
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