Dr. Helaine Silverman

Dr. Helaine Silverman

Contact Information

Department of Anthropology
607 S Mathews Ave.
M/C 148
Urbana, IL 61801

Office Hours

  • M/W/F 4:00-5:00
View CV


My research over the past ten years explores representations of the past in the construction and marketing of national identity; impact of tourism on historic built environments and their residents; cultural governance and cultural rights; community production of heritage; and reception/interpretation of the World Heritage brand. I amengaged in a long-term project in Cuzco, Peru that examines heritage conflicts in the UNESCO-designated district of the city. I have three smaller comparative projects on related World Heritage issues: (1) in a Thai town where daily life and the performance and valuation of local cultural heritage do not smoothly accommodate national tourism development plans [completed]; (2) at IronbridgeGorge in England where my concern is branding of the World Heritage site as “Birthplace of Industry” rather than WH and the project will be expanded in 2016 to the Durham, UK WH site; (3) in Collinsville, IL where, similarly, the WH status of Cahokia appears irrelevant to the surrounding community. England and Illinois are important as novel studies of the World Heritage brand in  developed countries. I also have studied the dissemination of Peru’s nation brand, la marca Perú, created by PromPerú [completed], which I hope to expand into an institutional ethnography of PromPerú itself.

Research Interests

  • cultural heritage, cultural politics, cultural governance, cultural rights
  • anthropology of tourism
  • critical museum studies
  • memory, identity, nationalism
  • historic urban environments
  • architecture and the built environment
  • spatial theory
  • anthropology of death
  • encounters with the past as popular culture
  • geographical areas: Peru, Southeast Asia, England

Research Description

Helaine Silverman is the Director of CHAMP/Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy. CHAMP is a strategic research center at UIUC dedicated to the critical study ofcultural heritage and museum practices on a global scale. It was established in Fall 2005. CHAMP has extraordinary faculty strength with more than thirty faculty members (http://champ.anthro.illinois.edu/faculty/) of which a coregroup of fifteen assist the Director (Helaine Silverman, Anthropology) and Associate Director (Paul Kapp, Architecture) as the Advisory Board and are especially engaged with each other (mutual guest lectures in each other’s courses; collaborative research; publications). CHAMP faculty conduct research around the world (http://champ.anthro.illinois.edu/projects/) and bring that experience into the classroom.

More than a dozen graduate students work with CHAMP faculty to pursue minors in Heritage Studies and in Museum Studies (http://champ.anthro.illinois.edu/academics/)en route to their disciplinary doctorates (http://champ.anthro.illinois.edu/grads/).CHAMP faculty are training a new generation of heritage scholars, heritage managers and museum professionals capable of dealing with complex realities and of articulating progressive policies to local and national governments and other agencies. Our graduates are successful upon graduation.  The list of CHAMP courses taught over the past decade (http://champ.anthro.illinois.edu/courses/ and  http://champ.anthro.illinois.edu/courses/past/)reveals the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary character of CHAMP(departments/programs represented include: Advertising; Anthropology;Architecture; Art History; Business Administration; European Union Studies; Landscape Architecture; Law; Library and Information Science; Museum Studies; Recreation, Sport and Tourism).

A highlight of CHAMP from its founding has been its spring conference program which joins international speakers with University of Illinois faculty speakers and other national speakers. CHAMP has hosted 10 conferences on campus resulting in 7 edited volumes:

2015-“Entrepreneurial Heritage and the Information Economy” = volume: Entrepreneurial Heritage in Europe, edited by Helaine Silverman, Matt Rosenstein and Ulrich Fuchs (in preparation,contract with Left Coast Press)

2014- “The Controversial Dead” [this led to the Stockholm conference] 

2013- “Encounters with Popular Pasts” = volume: Encounters with Popular Pasts: Cultural Heritage and Popular Culture, edited by Mike Robinson and Helaine Silverman (Springer, 2015)

2012- “Contemporary Authenticity”

2012- “Cultural Heritage and Landscape in India”

2011- “Cultural Heritage Politics in China” = volume: Cultural Heritage Politics in China, edited by Tami Blumenfield and Helaine Silverman (Springer 2013)

2010- “Heritage Cities” = volume: On Location. Heritage Cities and Sites, edited by D. Fairchild Ruggles (Springer, 2012)

2009- “Pseudo-Science: Why the Past Is Important in the Present”

2008- “Contested Cultural Heritage” = volume: Contested Cultural Heritage: Religion, Nationalism, Erasure, and Exclusion in a Global World, edited by Helaine Silverman (Springer, 2011)

2007- “Intangible Cultural Heritage” = volume: Intangible Heritage Embodied, edited by D. Fairchild Ruggles and Helaine Silverman (Springer, 2009)

2006- “Cultural Heritage and Human Rights” = volume: Cultural Heritage and Human Rights, edited by Helaine Silverman and D. Fairchild Ruggles (Springer, 2007)

Most recently CHAMP co-sponsored (with its partner, University of Birmingham Ironbridge International Institute forCultural Heritage, UK) its first international conference abroad, “Trans-Atlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage” in Liverpool, England in July 2015. The strategic international partnership with IIICH has already resulted in Encounters with Popular Pasts: Heritage and Popular Culture (Springer 2015), edited by CHAMP’s director, Helaine Silverman and IIICH’s director, Mike Robinson, and based on CHAMP’s 2013 conference on campus.

CHAMP also has a strategic international partnership with the heritage scholars of Stockholm University's Critical Heritage Studies Network. CHAMP co-sponsored its second international conference abroad, “Heritage of Death,” with them in September 2015.

CHAMP recently established its third international partnership, with the Heritage, Arts and Visitor Research Collaborative at York St. John University in York, England. We are in the final stages of producing the first edited volume from this collaboration, Heritage in Action, to be published by Springer Press in 2016.

CHAMP has begun what we expect to be a major, long-term, team project, “The Mythic Mississippi”, potentially leading to a World Heritage nomination.

CHAMP is also fulfilling its service mission by being a founder member of the UNESCO Center for Global Citizenship (http://unescouc.wix.com/unesco-  and   https://www.facebook.com/UnescoCenterForGlobalCitizenship),which brings together University of Illinois faculty and members of theChampaign-Urbana community through activities that further the vision and educational and cultural mission of UNESCO.

CHAMP’s two newsletters summarizing 2013 and2014 are available on line and provide a comprehensive view of recentactivities (http://champ.anthro.illinois.edu/newsletter/). 


  • Anth 462: Museum Theory and Practice
  • Anth 557: Social Construction of Space
  • Anth 460: Heritage Management
  • Anth 420: Case Studies in Global Heritage
  • Anth 224: Tourist Cities and Sites
  • Anth 180: Anthropology and Archaeology of Death
  • Anth 175: Archaeology and Popular Culture
  • GLBL 298: Tourism and Economic Development in Peru

Selected Publications


Encounters With Popular Pasts. Heritage and Popular Culture edited by Mike Robinson, edited by Helaine Silverman. Edited by Mike Robinson, Edited by Helaine Silverman, NY Springer 2015.
Cultural Heritage Politics in China edited by Tami Blumenfield, edited by Helaine Silverman. Edited by Tami Blumenfield, Edited by Helaine Silverman, NY Springer 2013.
Contested Cultural Heritage: Religion, Nationalism, Erasure and Exclusion in a Global World edited by Helaine Silverman. Edited by Helaine Silverman, NY Springer 2011.
Intangible Heritage Embodied edited by D. Fairchild Ruggles, edited by Helaine Silverman. Edited by D. Fairchild Ruggles, Edited by Helaine Silverman, NY Springer 2009.
Handbook of South American Archaeology edited by Helaine Silverman, edited by William Isbell. Edited by Helaine Silverman, Edited by William Isbell, NY Springer 2008.
Cultural Heritage and Human Rights edited by Helaine Silverman, edited by D. Fairchild Ruggles. Edited by Helaine Silverman, Edited by D. Fairchild Ruggles, NY Springer 2007.
Archaeological Site Museums in Latin America edited by Helaine Silverman. Edited by Helaine Silverman, Gainesville University Press of Florida 2006.
Andean Archaeology III: North and South edited by William Isbell, edited by Helaine Silverman. Edited by William Isbell, Edited by Helaine Silverman, NY Springer 2006.
Andean Archaeology, Blackwell Global Archaeology Series edited by Helaine Silverman. Edited by Helaine Silverman, Oxford Blackwell 2004.
Andean Archaeology II: Art, Landscape, and Society edited by Helaine Silverman, edited by William Isbell. Edited by Helaine Silverman, Edited by William Isbell, NY Plenum/Kluwer 2002.
Andean Archaeology I: Variations in Sociopolitical Organization edited by William Isbell, edited by Helaine Silverman. Edited by William Isbell, Edited by Helaine Silverman, NY Plenum/Kluwer 2002.
Silverman, Helaine Ancient Nasca Settlement and Society Iowa City University of Iowa Press 2002.
Silverman, Helaine, and Donald A. Proulx The Nasca Oxford Blackwell Publishers 2002.
Silverman, Helaine Ancient Peruvian Art. An Annotated Bibliography NY G. K. Hall/Simon & Schuster Macmillan 1996.
Silverman, Helaine Cahuachi in the Ancient Nasca World Iowa City University of Iowa Press 1993.
Anthropology and Humanism, volume 30, number 2, Themed issue: “Performance, Tourism and Ethnographic Practice: An Exploration of the Work of Edward M. Bruner” edited by Helaine Silverman. Edited by Helaine Silverman, 2005.
The Space and Place of Death edited by Helaine Silverman, edited by David Small. Edited by Helaine Silverman, Edited by David Small, Washington, D.C. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association, Number 11 2002.