Research Areas

Masculinity; Ritual; Fatherhood; Childhood; Melanesia


Ph.D., University of Minnesota

M.A., University of Minnesota

B.A., Brandeis University


Personal Web Page

Eric Silverman

Eric Silverman

Eric Silverman

I am a cultural anthropologist at Wheelock College in American Studies and Human Development. For my Ph.D., I conducted ethnographic research in the late 1980s in a Sepik River village in Papua New Guinea (once studied by Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson). I periodically return (most recently in Summer 2010). In addition to my WSRC project on Jewish fathers, I am studying how modernization in Melanesia is changing ideas about fatherhood, the family, and children, and I am writing a book about Sepik River art. I just completed a book on the history of Jewish clothing, focusing on messages about gender and ethnic identity. I see myself as a binocular anthropologist, with one eye on American culture, especially American Jews, and the other eye on Melanesia. My approach is always cross-cultural, and tends to focus increasingly on the very ordinary items of everyday life that make our daily experiences meaningful by communicating our identity as ethnically unique but also assimilated into the dominant culture (say, wearing a yarmulke emblazoned with a Red Sox logo). For more information, please visit Eric’s professional webpage.

Representative Publications

Silverman, Eric. From Abraham to America: A History of Jewish Circumcision. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006.
Silverman, Eric. A Cultural History of Jewish Dress. Oxford: Berg, 2012.