Duke University Center for Jewish Studies

    Irene M. Silverblatt
  • Irene M. Silverblatt

  • Professor of Cultural Anthropology, History and Women's Studies
  • 201F Science Building
  • Campus Box 90091
  • Phone: (919) 684-3516
  • Fax: (919) 681-8483
  • 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
    South America
  • 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
  • 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.M. 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.M. Silverblatt.
      • 1987.
      • Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru.
      • Princeton University Press.
      Publication Description


      • I.M. Silverblatt.
      • 2008.
      • "The Black Legend and Global Conspiracies: The Spanish Inquisition, Race-Thinking and the Emerging Modern World:.
      • .
      • I.M. Silverblatt.
      • 2002.
      • "New World Christians and New World Fears in Colonial Peru".
      • .
  • 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 R. 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
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