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 National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, where she studied the impact of economic insecurity and social isolation on the transition to adulthood for working-class youth.
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).
She is currently funded by the Russell Sage Foundation on a project that integrates women’s electronic health records and in-depth interviews to uncover social determinants of health and barriers to well-being among women living in a disadvantaged rural community.
Silva has also collaborated with research institutions including Brookings and the American Enterprise Institute, bringing expertise in qualitative methods to policy-makers. 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.