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- Areas of Interest:
- Political culture ,
- Social class and inequality ,
- Qualitative methods ,
- Family and intimate life
- Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2010
- M.A., University of Virginia, 2006
- B.A., Wellesley College, 2004
Jennifer Silva joined the O’Neill School as an assistant professor in 2019. Her research interests include political culture, social class, inequality, transitions to adulthood, qualitative methods, and family and intimate life.
Previously, Silva taught sociology at Bucknell University. She was also a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, where she studied the impact of economic insecurity on social connectedness and civic engagement.
Silva has authored two books exploring American working-class culture, including We’re Still Here: Pain and Politics in the Heart of America (Oxford University Press, 2019) and Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Her research has been covered by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Atlantic, Boston Review, and NPR’s On Point. She’s been interviewed on Marketplace, WAMC’s The Roundtable, WITF’s Smart Talk, and two programs on SiriusXM—Tell Me Everything with John Fugelsang and P.O.T.U.S.
Silva earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology from the University of Virginia. She also studied sociology at the undergraduate level at Wellesley College.
- Russell Sage Foundation Awarded Scholar, Linking Electronic Health Records and In-depth Interviews to Uncover Barriers to Social Mobility and Health in a Declining Coal Mining Community (2020)
- Consumers and Consumption Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award, American Sociological Association, 2019
- Member, Transition to Adulthood Research Network, facilitated by the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), 2017-21
- Bucknell Geisinger Research Initiative Grant, 2017
- American Sociological Association and National Science Foundation Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline Grant, 2016
- Saguaro Seminar Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard University, 2012-14
- American Sociological Association and National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 2010-12
In the News
- “A scholar finds fatalism where faith in the American Dream once thrived,” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 21, 2019
- “They don’t think there is any America left,” - Slate, September 4, 2019
- “Why do so many working class Americans feel politics is pointless?” - The Conversation, August 5, 2019
- “What if sociologists had as much influence as economists?” - New York Times, March 17, 2017
- “What's killing white middle-aged American women?” - BBC, May 11, 2016
- We’re Still Here: Pain and Politics in the Heart of America, Oxford University Press (2019)
- Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty, Oxford University Press (2013)
- “Salvation or Safety Net? Converging Aspirations and Diverging Narratives of College Among Working- and Middle-Class Young Adults,” (with K. Snellman), Social Forces (2018)
- “Envisioning and Enacting Class Mobility: The Routine Constructions of the Agentic Self,” (with S. Corse), American Journal of Cultural Sociology (2017)
- “Consuming for an Imagined Future: Middle Class Consumer Lifestyle and Exploratory Experiences in the Transition to Adulthood,” (with M. Weinberger and J. Zavisca), Journal of Consumer Research (2017)
- “The Engagement Gap: Social Mobility and Extracurricular Participation among American Youth,” (with K. Snellman, C. Frederick, and R. Putnam), ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2015)