Irina Carlota Silber

Chair Department of Anthropology, Gender Studies and International Studies

Main Affiliation


Areas of Expertise/Research

  • Disability Studies
  • Salvadoran Diaspora and Migration
  • El Salvador War
  • Children and Chronic Illness


North Academic Center



Irina Carlota Silber


Before joining the Department of Anthropology, Lotti Silber was an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at CCNY's Division of Interdisciplinary Studies. Recipient of various fellowships and awards, Lotti has published her work widely. Her overarching work explores postwar processes in one of El Salvador's former warzones and a region known for its peasant revolutionary participation. She documents what she terms the entangled aftermaths of war and displacement, aftermaths that have produced postwar deception and disillusionment and an "obligated" migration.

Her book, Everyday Revolutionaries: Gender, Violence and Disillusionment in Postwar El Salvador (2011) unmasks how community members are asked contradictorily and in different contexts to relinquish their identities as “revolutionaries” and to develop a new sense of themselves as productive yet marginal postwar citizens via the same rubric of “participation” that fueled their revolutionary action. Everyday Revolutionaries received the 2013 International Latino Book Award in the Best First Book, Nonfiction category.

Her interest in displacements inspires a new research project on Salvadoran migration to Europe that focuses on Salvadorans’ experiences of incorporation, assimilation, or exclusion in the Spanish national and regional context where debates on unauthorized or undocumented migration that overwhelm everyday life in the U.S. context do not have this saliency.

However, a second major project lies at the intersection of science studies, medical anthropology, disability studies, and childhood studies. The Texture of Illness, is a multi-sited ethnographic study of childhood genetic difference that through an unpacking of quality of life issues, seeks to create new spaces for care and access to citizenship rights.

In all of her research, writing, and teaching, Lotti remains committed to pursuing various ethnographic genres, evidenced in a first prize poetry award from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association.


Ph.D., New York University
B.A. George Washington University

Courses Taught

Anthropology of Health & Healing; Anthropology of Gender; Ethnographic Research Methods; Cross Cultural Perspectives; Senior Seminar (IS)

Research Interests

Lotti Silber’s interests include the Anthropology of Central America, Latino studies, transnationalism, gender, postwar societies, and social movements. Her new work engages the fields of medical anthropology, disability studies, childhood studies, feminist theory and practice, and continues with her long-term interest in engaged research and public anthropology.


Silber’s book on postwar El Salvador is included in the Rutgers University Press series on Genocide, Political  Violence, and Human Rights. It is winner of the 2013 International Latino Book Award in the Best First Book,

Nonfiction category:

Silber, Irina Carlota. 2011. Everyday Revolutionaries: Gender, Violence, and Disillusionment in Postwar El Salvador. Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights Series. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Her work has also been published in scholarly journals and peer-reviewed volumes. Articles and chapters include:

Silber, Irina Carlota. 2013. "Nanita." Anthropology & Humanism 38(1): 93-94.

Silber, Irina Carlota. 2012. "¿Aguantando hambre o luchando?" Identidades 4: 127-146. 

Silber, Irina Carlota. 2007. “Local Capacity Building in ‘Dysfunctional’ Times: Internationals, Revolutionaries and Activism in Postwar El Salvador.” Women’s Studies Quarterly 35/3&4:163-183.

Silber, Irina Carlota. 2007. “Survivor Testimonies, Holocaust Memoirs: Violence in Latin America” In Sociology Confronts the Holocaust: Memories and Identities in Jewish Diasporas. J. Gerson and D. Wolf, eds. Pp. 176-184. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Silber, Irina Carlota. 2007. “Antropología, Adolescencia, Trauma y Resiliencia” In Adolescencia y Resiliencia. M. Munist, N. Suárez Ojeda, D. Krauskopf, and Tomás Silber, eds. Pp. 199-212. Buenos Aires, Argentina: PAIDOS.

Silber, Irina Carlota. 2006. “It’s A Hard Place to Be A Revolutionary Woman” In Engaged Observer: Anthropology, Advocacy and Activism. A. Adjani and V. Sanford, eds. Pp. 189-211. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Silber, Irina Carlota. 2004. “Mothers/Fighters/Citizens: Violence and Disillusionment in Postwar El Salvador.” Gender & History 16/3:561-587.

Silber, Irina Carlota. 2004. “Not Revolutionary Enough?: Community Rebuilding in Postwar Chalatenango.” In Landscapes of Struggle: Politics, Society and Community in El Salvador. Aldo Lauria-Santiago and Leigh Binford, eds. Pp. 166-186. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Silber, Irina Carlota. 2004. “Commemorating the Past in Postwar El Salvador.” In Memory and the Impact of Political Transformation in Public Space. Daniel J. Walkowitz and Lisa Knauer, eds. Pp. 211-231. Durham: Duke University Press.

Silber, Irina Carlota. 2004. “Adolescencia Perdida: Posguerra en El Salvador.” In La Familia: Un Espacio de Encuentro y Crecimiento para Todos. Enrique Dulanto Gutierrez, ed. Pp. 587-594. Mexico: Academia Mexicana de Pediatria/ETM.

Additional Information


Lotti is the recipient of various dissertation fellowships including a Fulbright-Hays, Inter-American Fellowship, Organization of American States, and a Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. She received postdoctoral support as a Rockefeller Fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities at the University of Virginia, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis.

She has also received CCNY and CUNY-wide support including grants from the PSC-CUNY, Faculty Fellowship Publication, an Engaged Scholar Fellowship from the Colin L. Powell Center, and a City Seeds Award  with Campbell Dalglish for "Building Bridges: Indigenous Media" an Interdisciplinary project that lies at the intersections of documentary filmmaking, engaged anthropology, and a critical indigenous studies. During 2013-2014 she will be a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Her book received the 2013 Mariposa Award from the International Latino Book Awards in the Best First Book, Nonfiction category. A poet, one of her poems received first prize from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association.