Rachel Silver

Assistant Professor

PhD - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI; MA - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI; MA - Yale University, New Haven, CT

Location(s) / Contact Info:

258, Winters College - WC
Keele Campus
Phone: 416-736-2100 Ext. 88758

Email: resilver@edu.yorku.ca


Rachel’s research connects insights from the field of comparative and international education and the anthropologies of gender, development, and policy. She uses ethnographic methods to critically explore how discourses, programs, and policies related to gender and education intersect with young people’s lives. Rachel pays particular attention to sexuality as a contested terrain on which larger struggles over moral and political authority are waged. Rachel has conducted extensive fieldwork in Southern and Eastern Africa, including in Malawi and Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camps, as well as with refugee communities resettled in the US. Her other scholarly interests include state/NGO/international funder relations; international development education policy; transnational feminisms; girls’ education; and education in protracted refugee situations.

Rachel's current research, conducted with Alyssa Morley (Michigan State University), examines gendered discourses of risk and girls' experiences during COVID-19 in Kenya and Malawi. 


Faculty & School/Dept

  • Faculty of Education -

Courses Taught

  • Comparative Perspectives on Global Migration and Education (GS/EDUC 5463)
  • Education and International Development (ED/EDUC 3711)
  • Ethnography of Education (GS/EDUC 6205)
  • Rethinking Schooling: A "Re-Introduction" to Education (ED/EDUC 1000)

Selected Publications

  • Rachel Silver and Alyssa Morley (2021). Girls' Education and Sexual Regulation in Malawi Gender and Education.
  • Rachel Silver (2020). Sex, Schooling, and the Paradox of the Readmission Policy in Malawi. In Lydia Boyd and Emily Burrill (Eds.), Legislating Gender and Sexuality in Africa: Rights, Society and the State. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Rachel Silver (2019). "Nothing but Time": Middle Figures, Student Pregnancy Policy, and the Malawian State African Studies Review, 62 (4).
  • Nancy Kendall and Rachel Silver (2017). Mapping International Development Relations through Meeting Ethnography. In Jen Sandler and Renita Thedvall (Eds.), Meeting Ethnography: Interrogating Meetings as Key Technologies of Contemporary Governance, Development, and Resistance. New York, NY: Routledge
  • Nancy Kendall and Rachel Silver (2014). The Consequences of Global Mass Education: Schooling, Work, and Well-Being in EFA-Era Malawi. In Nelly Stromquist and Karen Monkman (Eds.), Globalization and Education: Integration and Contestation Across Cultures (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield

Research Projects

Returns at Risk: COVID-19 and Girls' Education in Malawi

Role: Principal Investigator

Year Funded: 2021

Funded by: NAEd/Spencer Foundation


  • Gail P. Kelly Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation, Comparative and International Education Society - 2020

Professional Affiliations

  • Comparative and International Education Society
  • American Anthropological Association

York University Affiliations/Cross Appointments