Eric Silverman

Eric Silverman, Associate Professor of American Studies and Chair, Psychology and Human DevelopmentAssociate Professor of American Studies and Chair, Psychology and Human Development
Phone: 617-879-2423
Office: Activities East 225I

Educational Degrees

B.A. (Anthropology) 1984, Brandeis University
M.A. (Anthropology) 1987, University of Minnesota
Ph.D. (Anthropology) 1993, University of Minnesota

Eric Silverman is a cultural anthropologist who teaches in the American Studies and Human Development departments (see also ). He employs a binocular approach to teaching and research that tacks between American culture and other societies and between local experiences in the US and elsewhere, and globalization.

Silverman has a longstanding interest in the Iatmul people of Papua New Guinea, whom he has studied since the late 1980s (fieldwork in 1988-1990, 1994, and February 2008, summer 2010). He also studies American Jews and Judaism. He is interested in masculinity, gender, fatherhood, consumerism, childhood, art, clothing, ethnicity, food, tourism, ritual and religion, immigrants, death and funerary rites, myth and folklore, pop culture, and the material culture of everyday life.

Silverman has published many articles and essays, delivered scores of conference presentations, and written three books. His first book was Masculinity, Motherhood, and Mockery: Psychoanalyzing Culture and the Iatmul Naven Rite in New Guinea (2001, University of Michigan Press). His second book was From Abraham to America: A History of Jewish Circumcision (2006, Rowman and Littlefield). His third book will be published in early 2012, A Cultural History of Jewish Dress (Berg Press). Currently, Silverman is co-editing an anthology of articles about funerals and modernity in Melanesia, and working on two major projects: a comprehensive survey of Iatmul art, and a study of contemporary American-Jewish fathering. He is also interested in fathering in Papua New Guinea, the history of Chanukah in America, the use of cell phones in Papua New Guinea, consumerism, public spaces in Boston (such as the Freedom Trail), and the Grateful Dead.

Silverman teaches courses on cultural anthropology, the family and childhood cross-culturally, men and boys in America, psychological anthropology, religion in America, and introduction to American Studies. Eric also has a research affiliation with the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University.

To read more about his publications, conference papers, courses, and other scholarly activities, and to see some fieldwork photos from Papua, New Guinea, visit his professional webpage at

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