Blanca Silvestrini received her Ph.D. in Latin American History at SUNY-Albany, a J.S.M. from Stanford University and did postgraduate work at Harvard University. Professor Silvestrini was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences in 1987-88 and Visiting Professor at Stanford Law School from 1988-1990. Her scholarship has centered on the crucial hiatus of the Caribbean in the first have of the 20th century, especially in Puerto Rico, where two legal systems clashed, accommodated and transformed with the inception of the United States’ presence. Her first books, especially, Violencia y criminalidad en PuertoRico 1898-1973: Un estudio de historia social (University of Puerto Rico Press, 1980) study issues of social transformation at the beginning of the 20th century by looking at the creolization of legal cultures in the context of gender and institutional change.
More recently, she has explored the socio-cultural construction of citizenship in relation to health rights and is currently finishing a book on public health and marginalized citizenship in Puerto Rico for which she received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship in 2006. She has served as President of the Caribbean Historians Association and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Law and Society Association.