Assistant Professor, Co-Director, Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) Project
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
Phone: 416-736-2100 Ext. 88758
Dr. Silver's research connects insights from the field of comparative and international education; the anthropologies of gender, development, and policy; and forced migration studies. She uses ethnographic methods to critically explore how discourses, programs, and policies related to girls' education intersect with young people’s lives. Silver pays particular attention to contestations around sexual and reproductive health in contexts with high levels of intervention by humanitarian and/or development institutions. She 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.
Silver has two current research projects. The first, with graduate student HaEun Kim and Kenya-based collaborators Mark Okello Oyat and Sahra Mohamed Ismail, examines the possibilities for graduate-level education in refugee camps to shift the politics of knowledge production in the field of forced migration studies, where the vast majority of research is conducted by non-refugee scholars from the global North. The second, conducted with Dr. Alyssa Morley (Michigan State University), examines gendered discourses of risk and girls' experiences during COVID-19 in comparative perspective.
At York, Silver is co-director of York University's Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) project with Dr. Don Dippo.
critical development studies; ethnography, girls' education; sexual and reproductive health education; forced migration and refugee studies; state/NGO/international funder relations; transnational feminisms; globalization and education
Faculty & School/Dept
- Faculty of Education -
- 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)
- Rachel Silver, Mark Okello Oyat, HaEun Kim, and Sahra Mohamed Ismail (2022). Rhetorical Commitments and Funding Realities in Dadaab, Kenya. Forced Migration Review (70).
- Rachel Silver (2022). The Virgin and the Mother: Girl Stories and their Implications for Girls' Lives Compare.
- Rachel Silver and Nancy Kendall (2022). Syndemic Sex Education Sex Education.
- Rachel Silver, S. Nombuso Dlamini, and Nathan Englander (2021) Travel Bans Expose Continued Enforcement of Colonialism.Toronto Star
- 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
Other Research Outputs
Borderless Graduate Education and the Politics of Knowledge Production
Role: Principal Investigator
Year Funded: 2022
Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
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
- Concha Delgado Gaitán Presidential Fellowship, American Anthropological Association's Council on Anthropology and Education - 2021
- Comparative and International Education Society: SIGs: Gender Justice, Africa, Global Migration
- American Anthropological Association: Council on Anthropology and Education; Association for the Anthropology of Policy