Kaja Silverman (born September 16, 1947) is an American film theorist and art historian. She received her Ph.D. in English from Brown University. She taught at Yale University, Trinity College, Simon Fraser University, Brown University, the University of Rochester and the University of California, Berkeley, before joining the University of Pennsylvania Art History Department in 2010. She was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008.
Her writing and teaching are focused at the moment primarily on phenomenology, psychoanalysis, photography, and time-based visual art, but she continues to write about and teach courses on cinema, and she has a developing interest in painting. She is currently writing a book about photography, called The Miracle of Analogy, and her long-in-the-making book, Flesh of My Flesh, was published by Stanford University Press in fall 2009.
Stanford's advertisement for the long-awaited Flesh of My Flesh in PMLA 125.1 (Jan., 2010) quotes a review by George Baker of UCLA stating that it "is an extraordinary book: Silverman's magnum opus [...] the kind of book that one comes across only a few times on one's life." Stanford does not give any clue as to what the book's subject matter is, however, though blurbs used for other books in the same advertisement do. The Stanford University Press website gives a much more thorough description, including the following more informative blurb by Adrienne Harris of NYU: "Kaja Silverman's thesis, pursued over centuries of artistic work and thought, is that it is in the experience of analogy that an authentic approach to mortality is possible. Above all, her project is to illuminate the ways that the individual—artist, soldier, or citizen—is haunted by war and violence and that the metabolizing of such violence and horror requires relationality. From a psychoanalytic perspective in which intersubjectivity and relatedness are central, this is fascinating and welcome news."
Silverman is the author of numerous articles, and the following eight books:
- The Subject of Semiotics (Oxford University Press, 1983)
- The Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema (Indiana University Press, 1988)
- White Skin, Brown Masks (Indiana University Press, 1989)
- Male Subjectivity at the Margins (Routledge Press, 1992)
- The Threshold of the Visible World (Routledge Press, 1996)
- Speaking About Godard (New York University Press, 1998; with Harun Farocki)
- World Spectators (Stanford University Press, 2000)
- James Coleman (Munich: Hatje Cantz, 2002; ed. Susanne Gaensheimer)
- Flesh of My Flesh (Stanford University Press, 2009)
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