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. 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 in communities impacted by global tourism.
I have applied this suite of interests to an ethnographic/applied archaeology project in Cuzco, Peru, ongoing 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 (Luis Arturo Flórez García in 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) is promoting the deployment of cultural heritage resources in downstate Illinois for the purpose of generating economic and social development through themed tourism routes. 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 at the Durham World Heritage Site. The issue in Ironbridge Gorge is the long-term marketing of the site as “Birthplace of Industry” (national heritage, largely ignoring its World Heritage status) and the scant popular knowledge that Ironbridge Gorge is a World Heritage Site. My research in Durham is conducted with Dr. Andreas Pantazatos (University of Cambridge, England). We originally were interested in the national scripting and regional importance of Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site and - similar to the situation with Ironbrige Gorge - scant public knowledge that it is a World Heritage Site. While working in the World Heritage Site we became aware of the celebration of labor heritage in former coal mining communities of Durham, including in their annual parade into Durham (the Gala), and have shifted our focus to them.
I am the co-editor of two book series: “Heritage, Tourism and Community,” for Routledge and “Multidisciplinary Perspectives in Archaeological Heritage Management,” published by Springer. 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.
I am the Director of 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