Amber Lee Silva

Amber Lee Silva, PhD candidate, Anthropology
amberleesilva [at] (Email)

Project Title: The Selective Modernity of a Global Enclave: The Religious Segregation of the Russian Old Believer Diaspora

Project Description: Fieldwork for my dissertation will take place in Erie, Pennsylvania and Nikolaevsk, Alaska with communnities of Russian Old Believers (Staroveri). My primary research question asks how can a group be both an ethno-religious, isolated enclave locally and a transnational diasporic network globally? Broadly, I look at both methods of forging and maintaining social disconnections and connections. Specifically, disconnections include internal (popovtsy=priestly/bezpopovtsy=priestless) and external (Staroveri=Old Believers/mirsky=worldly and poganyi=unclean) divisions and the purity rituals and taboos that separate them. Connections include intradiasporic networking through communication, textual exchange, transnational endogamy, and travel.

Research Interests: Russian Orthodoxy, Anabaptism, self-segregation, religious enclaves, purity and pollution, diaspora, migration

Geographic Focus: Eastern Europe, North America

Main Supervisor: Dr. Ronald Niezan

Previous Education:
B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology from SUNY Potsdam
Masters in Anthropology from McGill University

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