Dr. HELAINE SILVERMAN is a Full Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Director of CHAMP/Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy (champ.anthro.illinois.edu) at the University of Illinois. She also is an affiliate of the Campus Honors Program, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Center for Global Studies, European Union Center, Department of Landscape Architecture and Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism.
Dr. Silverman holds a BA in Anthropology from Queens College of the City University of New York, MA in Anthropology from Columbia University, and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.
For almost thirty years her research focused on the archaeology of the south coast of Peru, with excavations and survey in the Río Grande de Nazca drainage and in the Pisco Valley. She is an expert in a pre-Columbian culture known as Nasca, which flourished on the south coast in the first millennium AD.
As a result of persistent media attention to her research she became intrigued by public interest in the past and how Peru deploys its ancient civilizations for the construction of national identity and the promotion of tourism. This led her into critical heritage studies.
One stream of Dr. Silverman’s heritage research focuses on the ethnographic investigation of “the past in the present” (“social archaeology”) She is interested in the cooperative and conflictual production of archaeological monuments and living historic urban centers as heritage sites for visual, performative, economic and political consumption as undertaken by national governments, regional authorities, local administrations, community stakeholders, and the global tourism industry. She conducts research in Peru, punctuated by a brief project in Thland.
More recently she has been studying industrial heritage in England and the State of Illinois, with a focus on the contemporary culture of coal towns and how residents interact (or do not) with the industry that once dominated their lives.
She is a Member of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of ICOMOS-USA, an Expert Member of ICOMOS’ International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM) and ICOMOS’s International Scientific Committee on Cultural Tourism (ICTC). She has consulted for UNESCO on international World Heritage nominations and has been involved with the successful nomination of two U.S. archaeological sites to the World Heritage List: Poverty Point and the Hopewell Earthworks. She also is a Member of the Advisory Board of the Illinois State Historical Society. Professor Silverman is an Affiliate Member of the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre at the University of Cambrdge, UK.
In addition to her own publications she recently finished her co-editorship of two book series: “Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Archaeological Heritage Management” (Springer) and “Heritage, Tourism and Community” (Routledge). She currently serves on the editorial boards of International Journal of Heritage Studies, Heritage & Society, World Art, Thema, and Built Heritage. She is a past editor-in-chief of the flagship journal Latin American Antiquity (Society for American Archaeology). She served on the editorial boards of American Anthropologist (American Anthropological Association) and Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, among others.