607 S Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801
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
anthropology of death
encounters with the past as popular culture
geographical areas: Peru, Southeast Asia, England
I am an archaeologist with expertise in ancient south coast societies of Peru (see narrative CV). Frequent media attention to my Nasca research led me to shift away from excavation to heritage studies related to archaeology and historic urban centers.
My heritage research focuses on the role of archaeology and ancient societies in the construction of space, place, memory, and identity in contemporary nation-states, and how the nation-state, its official agencies and manifold constituencies, as well as the global tourism industry and popular media, produce a national past, inform contemporary national identities, and generate a national “brand” through appropriation and representation of the past. My emphasis is on the intersections of local, national, and international heritage management practices with communities under conditions of globalization and tourism.
I have applied this suite of interests to an ethnographic/applied archaeology project in Cuzco, Peru since 2003. The first stage of this project concentrated on the program of a former mayor of Cuzco, Daniel Estrada (1984-1986, 1990-1995), to construct a “new Inca city” by means of a “neo-Inca” embellishment of the historic urban center accompanied by a strong cuzqueñismo discourse. I also have studied the bitter controversy over a subsequent mayor’s erection (2011) of a bronze statue of an Inca king atop the fountain in the center of the Plaza de Armas, which continues to be debated. I return frequently to Cuzco to study the evolution of the historic urban center with a focus on the complexities of local use of public space, local construction of identity, and the inexorable conquest of private space by the tourism sector.
In 2011 I worked in Phimai, a town in northeast Thailand whose ancient Khmer temple is on Thailand’s Tentative List for inscription on the World Heritage List. I documented the town prior to its inscription in terms of the built environment, its economy, popular attitudes toward the past, local construction of cultural heritage and official heritage management of the temple. Once inscribed, I will return to Phimai to assess changes in these domains.
My two current research projects are linked by their attention to cultural heritage in the context of highly developed nations – the U.S. and England. The Mythic Mississippi Project (co-directed with Paul Kapp, School of Architecture, UIUC and Devin Hunter, History, UI-Springfield) focuses on the deployment of cultural heritage resources in downstate Illinois for the purpose of promoting economic and social development. Please see details on the separate website: mythicmississippi.illinois.edu. My fieldwork in England has been conducted at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site and now in Durham. The issue in Ironbridge Gorge is the long-term marketing of the site as “Birthplace of Industry” with little official interest in it as a World Heritage Site and even less popular interest in its World Heritage status. Rather, there is widespread awareness and enthusiasm for the gorge as national industrial heritage. Whereas the national industrial heritage of Ironbridge Gorge is the focus of interpretation at this World Heritage Site, the industrial heritage underwriting the history and wealth of the Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site is almost invisible in the official script. Under the leadership of Dr. Andreas Pantazatos (Co-Director, Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage, Durham University), we have extended the Durham project to the mining heritage of the county as it is expressed in the annual Gala when residents of the former mining towns come into the elite center and we are working in their home communities where a major effort is underway to remember and empower labor history and its bearers.
I am the co-editor of two book series: “Heritage, Tourism and Community,” for Routledge (with Mike Robinson, Director, Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham, UK) and ICAHM’s “Multidisciplinary Perspectives in Archaeological Heritage Management,” published by Springer (with Douglas Comer, President, ICAHM Board). I am an Expert Member of ICAHM (ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management) and ICTC (ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Tourism). I currently serve on the editorial boards of International Journal of Heritage Studies, Heritage and Society, World Art, Built Heritage and Thema (among others).
I am the Director CHAMP (Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy). See: champ.anthro.illinois.edu.
PhD, Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin
MA, Anthropology, Columbia University
BA, Anthropology, Queens College of the City University of New York
Anth 175: Archaeology and Popular Culture
Anth 180: Anthropology and Archaeology of Death
Anth 224: Tourist Cities and Sites
Anth 420: Case Studies in Global Heritage
Anth 460: Heritage Management
Anth 462: Museum Theory and Practice
Anth 557: Social Construction of Space
GLBL 298: Tourism and Economic Development in Peru
Additional Campus Affiliations
Campus Honors Faculty, Office of the Provost
Silverman, H. (Accepted/In press). The Inca in the Plaza: debating change in the World Heritage historic urban centre of Cusco, Peru. International Journal of Heritage Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2020.1746921
Pantazatos, A., & Silverman, H. (2019). Memory, pride and politics on parade; The Durham Miners’ Gala. In Heritage and Festivals in Europe: Performing Identities (pp. 110-127). Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429202964-8
Silverman, H. I. (2018). Affiliative reterritorialization: the Manco Capac statue and the Japanese community in Peru. In C. Holtorf, A. Pantazatos, & G. Scarre (Eds.), Cultural Heritage, Ethics and Contemporary Migrations Routledge.
Frihammar, M., & Silverman, H. I. (2017). Heritage of death: Emotion, memory and practice. In M. Frihammar, & H. Silverman (Eds.), Heritage of Death: Landscapes of Emotion, Memory and Practice (pp. 3-19). Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315440200-1
Frihammar, M., & Silverman, H. (Eds.) (2017). Heritage of Death: Landscapes of Emotion, Memory and Practice. Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315440200