Duke University Center for Jewish Studies

    Irene Silverblatt
  • Irene Silverblatt

  • Professor
  • 201F Friedl Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
  • Campus Box 90091
  • Phone: (919) 684-3516
  • Fax: (919) 681-8483
  • Overview

    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.
  • Specialties

    • Comparative Colonial Studies
    • Globalization of Culture
    • Race and Ethnicity
    • Political Economy
    • Nationalism
    • Gender
  • Research Description

    Irene Silverblatt, Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1981, researches the cultural dimensions of state- building and colonization in Latin America. She is particularly interested in the relation of gender, racial discourses, and historical memory to the construction and experience of power. As a Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, she will be writing a social history of Peru's political ideologies and the making of colonial Andean subjects. These concerns, combined with an interest in the history of anthropology, orient her next project on the emerging fields of Andean ethnography--in the United States and Peru--during World War II and the first decades of the Cold War. Her publications include Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru (1987); "Imperial Dilemmas, the Politics of Kinship, and Inca Reconstructions of History," (1988), winner of the American Society for Ethnohistory's Heizer prize; and numerous articles.
  • Areas of Interest

    Politics of culture
    state making and colonization
    ethnohistory
    gender
    South America
  • Education

      • Ph.D.,
      • Anthropology,
      • University of Michigan at Ann Arbor,
      • 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,
      • Duke University Press,
      • January 2004
      • Fellow,
      • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard U,
      • 9/2001-5/2002
      • Frieda L. Miller Fellow,
      • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University,
      • 2001/2002
      • President,
      • American Society for Ethnohistory,
      • 2002
      • Radcliffe Institute Fellowship,
      • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study,
      • January 2001
      • Kreeger-Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor,
      • Northwestern University,
      • 1997
      • Rockefeller Foundation Resident Fellowship,
      • Department of Spanish and Portuguese/Latin American Studies, University of Maryland,
      • September 1992
      • Fellowship,
      • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation,
      • January 1992
      • Robert F. Heizer Prize,
      • American Society for Ethnohistory,
      • 1988
      • Fellowship for Advanced International Research,
      • Social Science Research Council,
      • August 1987
      • Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellowship,
      • Museum of Natural History,
      • August 1987
      • Fellowships for Pre-Doctoral Research,
      • Wenner Gren Foundation; Organization for American States; Henry, Princeton University,
      • January 1980
  • Selected Publications

      • Irene Silverblatt and Helene Silverblatt editors and introduction, translated by Jerry Glenn and Florian Birkmayer with Helene Silverblatt and Irene Silverblatt.
      • 2008.
      • Harvest of Blossoms: Poems from a Life Cut Short.
      • I Silverblatt.
      • 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 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 Silverblatt.
      • 2008.
      • The Black Legend and Global Conspiracies: The Spanish Inquisition, Race-Thinking and the Emerging Modern World.
      • manual
      • .
      • I Silverblatt.
      • 2002.
      • New World Christians and New World Fears in Colonial Peru.
      • manual
      • .
  • View All Publications
  • Postdoctoral Students

    • Paloma Fernandez-Racines
      • August 30, 1998 - July 1, 1999
    • Paloma Fernandez-Racines
      • August 30, 1998 - July 1, 1999
  • PhD Students

    • Anna Kivlan
    • Lorien Olive
      • Status: PostPrelim
    • Leigh M. Campoamor
      • Status: PostPrelim
    • Arianne Dorval
      • Status: PostPrelim
    • Kataki Pant
    • Tracy Brown
      • Status: Graduated
    • Gonzalo Lamana
      • Status: PostPrelim
    • Tracy Brown
    • Gonzalo Lamana
      • September, 1998
  • Teaching

    • CULANTH 499S.01
      • SENIOR DISTINCTION SEMINAR
      • Friedl Bdg 118
      • Tu 03:05 PM-05:05 PM
  • israel western wall