Irina Silber

Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Programs

Main Affiliation


Additional Departments/Affiliated Programs

Areas of Expertise/Research

  • Anthropology of Central America
  • Disability Services
  • Gender and Postwar
  • Higher Education
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Migration


North Academic Center



Irina Silber


Irina Carlota (Lotti) Silber received her PhD from New York University and is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Programs at the Colin Powell School, CCNY. She is also on the Doctoral Faculty in Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Dr. Silber is the recipient of various fellowships including a Fulbright-Hays, Interamerican Foundation Fellowship, Charlotte Newcombe, Rockefeller Fellowship, a Fulbright Specialist Award, and a CUNY Mellon Mid-Career Fellowship. She is the author of the award-winning book Everyday Revolutionaries: Gender, Violence, and Disillusionment in Postwar El Salvador (Rutgers 2011; 2013 Mariposa Award-International Latino Book Awards). A Spanish language edition, Cotidianidad Revolucionaria, was subsequently published with UCA Editores in El Salvador (2018). Her work has been published in journals such as Gender & History, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Anthropology & Humanism, and The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. Silber remains committed to pursuing various ethnographic genres and received a First Prize in Poetry from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology (2012).

Silber recently published two new books. The first, After Stories: Transnational Intimacies of Postwar El Salvador (Stanford 2022), is a retrospective, longitudinal, ethnographic account that examines archives of memories and troubles the categories that have come to stand for “El Salvador” such as alarming violent numbers.  Silber considers the lives of young Salvadorans who were brought up in an everyday radical politics and then migrated to the United States after more than a decade of peace and democracy. She reflects on this generation of migrants—the 1.5 insurgent generation born to forgotten former rank-and-file militants—as we as their intergenerational, transnational families to unpack the assumptions and typical ways of knowing about postwar lives. 

The second new book is a co-edited volume, Higher Education, State Repression, and Neoliberal Reform in Nicaragua: Reflections from a University under Fire (Routledge 2023), that examines the repression that exists in higher education around academic freedom of thought. The book underscores the role of critical higher education and international solidarity as crucial means of maintaining academic freedom, university autonomy, oppositional knowledge production, and social outreach in higher education globally.

Silber’s interest and expertise in higher education research is also evident in her role as Co-PI on an interdisciplinary National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE three-year award led by Rosemarie D. Wesson, Associate Provost for Research and Professor of Chemical Engineering. With this team, comprised of Co-PIs Christine Li (Biology), MC Binz-Scharf (EcoBiz), Maritsa Poros (Sociology), Karen Hubbard(Biology), the award seeks to adapt best practices for advancing inclusion, diversity, and equity in STEM. 

Silber’s ongoing project, Luminous: Children in Chronic Times, pursues her interest in embodied trauma through an ethnography of childhood genetic difference. It builds upon feminist, positioned and intimate methodologies and new competencies in Critical Disability Studies. Related to this project, she is co-chair of the University Seminar in Disability, Culture, and Society at Columbia University and on the Board of the Anthropology Section of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Silber is committed to public scholarship and provided an expert anthropological dictamen for the El Mozote Massacre case currently underway in El Salvador.


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


Anthropology of Health & Healing; Anthropology of Childhood; Ethnographic Research Methods;
Cross-Cultural Perspectives; Anthropology and Disability Studies; Anthropology of War and Trauma

Research Interests

Anthropology of Central America; war, gender and revolution; trauma; postwar societies; social movements; Latinx Studies; Latin American Studies; immigration; medical anthropology; disability studies; childhood studies; public anthropology; ethnographic poetry.

Select Publications



2023 Higher Education at the Crossroads of State Repression and Neoliberal Reform in Nicaragua: Reflections from a University under Fire. Co-edited. Routledge. 
2022 After Stories: Transnational Intimacies of Postwar El Salvador. CA: Stanford University Press
2018 Cotidianidad Revolucionaria: Género, Violencia y Desencanto en la Posguerra Salvadoreña (Translation with new Preface). San Salvador, El Salvador: UCA Editores [University of Central America Press].
2011 Everyday Revolutionaries: Gender, Violence, and Disillusionment in Postwar El Salvador. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. [International Latino Book Awards, Mariposa Book Award, First Prize for First Book, Non-Fiction by a Latinx Writer]

Refereed Journal Articles & Book Chapters

2019 “Está bien recordar: Stories of the 1.5 Insurgent Generation.” Cultural Anthropology…
2018 Entangled Aftermaths in El Salvador. In Latin America Since the Left Turn, Tulia Falleti, and Emilio A. Parrado, eds. Pp 326-352. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
2014 In the After: Anthropological Reflections on Postwar El Salvador. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 19(1): 1-21. (Lead Article)
2013  Nanita. Anthropology & Humanism 38(1) 93-94. (Poem)
2012 ¿Aguantando hambre o luchando? Identidades 4: 127-146.
2006 It’s A Hard Place to Be A Revolutionary Woman. In Engaged Observer: Anthropology, Advocacy and Activism. A. Angel-Ajani and V. Sanford, eds. Pp. 189-211. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
2005  Mothers/Fighters/Citizens: Violence and Disillusionment in Postwar El Salvador. In Violence, Vulnerability and Embodiment: A Gender and History Reader. Anupama Rao and Shani D'Cruze, eds. Pp. 67-93. London: Blackwell. (article reprint)
2004a Mothers/Fighters/Citizens: Violence and Disillusionment in Postwar El Salvador. Gender & History 16/3:561-587.
2004b  Not Revolutionary Enough?: Community Rebuilding in Postwar Chalatenango. In Landscapes of Struggle: Politics, Society and Community in El Salvador. A. Lauria-Santiago and L. Binford, eds. Pp. 166-186. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Public Scholarship

2018 Cotidianidad revolucionaria. Género, violencia y desencanto en la posguerra salvadoreña.” La Hora de Sofía: UCA Radio.,  November.
2017 “Posguerra pero nunca posviolencia.” El Faro Académico, March 5.….
2016  “In the After.” Panoramas. University of Pittsburgh, February 16.’s-long-postwar
2014  “Revolucionarios Cotidianos: Género, Violencia y Desencanto en El Salvador.” El Faro Académico, October 18.….