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Patricia Silver

Dr. Patricia Silver

Patricia Silver has been a Centro research associate since 2010. She holds an MA and PhD in cultural anthropology from American University in Washington, D.C., an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington and a BA from Princeton University. Since 2006, she has conducted ethnographic research in Orlando, Florida. Her current book project explores the articulation of memory, local histories, collective identification and political engagement in the Puerto Rican community in the Orlando-Kissimmee area.

With funding from the Florida Humanities Council and Centro, Dr. Silver co-directed the oral history project, Puerto Ricans in Central Florida from 1940s to 1980s: A History, during 2008 and 2009 while a faculty member at the University of Central Florida. The collection, which is currently housed at both the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando and the Centro Library and Archives, includes over 100 hours of oral history testimony from 75 participants. A second oral history project, Puerto Rican Civic Engagement and Political Participation, which Dr. Silver conducted immediately following the 2012 elections in Orlando, will be housed at the Centro Library and Archives. Dr. Silver also helped to form a research network of scholars working to create the foundations for Puerto Rican studies in Central Florida. Articles from this network of scholars appeared in the spring 2010 special issue of CENTRO Journal, for which Dr. Silver served as a guest editor together with Jorge Duany.

Prior to her project in Central Florida, Dr. Silver conducted dissertation research in Puerto Rico, examining how gendered and classed representations of “the good teacher” and “the good citizen” in Puerto Rico shifted across the 20th century in relation to changing political, economic, and ideological dynamics in U.S.-Puerto Rican relations. She analyzed how public school teachers in Puerto Rico drew on these representations in their daily decisions during a school reform program of the 1990s. She then traced the interactions among these daily decisions, success or failure of the reform program, and the dynamics of state formation in Puerto Rico.


2013 “Latinization, Race, and Cultural Identification in Puerto Rican Orlando.” Southern Cultures 19(4):55-75.

2011-2012 “Construir la raza y encontrar un lugar en el Orlando puertorriqueño.” Op. Cit.: Revista del Centro de Investigaciones Históricas 20:33¬-67.

2010 “ ‘I’m a Worker-Professional’: Teachers and Their Classes in Puerto Rico.” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 17:1-22.

2010 “ ‘Culture Isn’t Just Bingo and Salsa’: Making Puertorriqueñidad in Central Florida.” CENTRO Journal for the Center for Puerto Rican Studies 22(1):56-83.

2007 “ ‘Then I Do What I Want’: Teachers, State, and Empire in 2000.” American Ethnologist 34(2):266-282.


2010 Duany, Jorge, and Patricia Silver. “The ‘Puertoricanization’ of Florida: Historical Background and Current Status.” CENTRO Journal for the Center for Puerto Rican Studies 22(1):4-31.

Book chapters

In press (2014) “Local and Translocal Belonging: The Comparative Case Study of a Puerto Rican Archive.” In Identity Palimpsests: Ethnic Archiving in the U.S. and Canada. Dominique Daniel and Amalia S. Levi, eds. Los Angeles: Litwin Book, LLC.

In press (2014) “New Puerto Rican Diasporas in the U.S. South.” In Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium. New York: CENTRO Press.

In press (2014) “Puerto Ricans in Florida.” In Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium. New York: CENTRO Press.

In preparation (2014). Silver, Patricia, and William Velez.“From Great Migration to Great Dispersal: Puerto Ricans in New Destinations” [working title]. In The Social and Economic Well-Being of Puerto Ricans in the United States. William Velez, ed. Lynne Rienner Press.


2011 “Challenging Cuban Hegemony: Puerto Ricans in Florida.” El Caribe Hispano: Hacia un Campo de Estudio Propio, Santo Domingo, DR. July 25-27.

2006 “Banking on Respect: Class and Consumption in Puerto Rico.” In Decentering Latin American Studies, Latin American Studies Association (LASA), XXVI International Congress. San Juan, Puerto Rico. March 15-18, 2006.


2011 Book Review: Land Reform in Puerto Rico: Modernizing the Colonial State, 1941-1969, Ismael García Colón. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 16(2):1-3.