Reader in Anthropology, Undergraduate Program Convenor
Advisory Board Chair
- Dr Naomi Leite
- Email address:
- +44(0) 20 7898 4407
- SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
- Russell Square: College Buildings
- Office No:
- Academic Support Hours:
- Weds, 10-12 (info: https://tinyurl.com/yx8z275x)
Naomi Leite earned her MA and PhD in sociocultural anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as her BA in History of Art and Religious Studies. She also began her teaching career there, receiving Berkeley's university-wide Teaching Effectiveness Award for creative pedagogy as a doctoral candidate. Before coming to SOAS in 2014, she held a postdoctoral teaching and research fellowship at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
A cultural and psychological anthropologist, Leite's work focuses on identity, identification, belonging, and exclusion across domains and scales of sociality. She is author of Unorthodox Kin: Portuguese Marranos and the Global Search for Belonging (University of California Press, 2017), winner of the 2018 Stirling Prize for Best Book in Psychological Anthropology, the 2018 Graburn Book Award in Anthropology of Tourism, 2017 National Jewish Book Award Finalist, and honourable mention for the 2017 Douglass Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Europe. Her second book, The Ethnography of Tourism (co-edited with Quetzil Castañeda and Kathleen M Adams, Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), was awarded the 2020 Edward Bruner Prize by the Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group of the American Anthropological Association. Her newest project, a multinational, comparative study, focuses on informal sociality, belonging, and exclusion in tacitly or explicitly “inclusive” institutions, with particular attention to cultural models and micropractices that foster or hinder their efforts.
While grounded in the theoretical and methodological traditions of anthropology, her teaching and research are fundamentally interdisciplinary. Over the years she has developed and taught courses on identity (ethnic, religious, diasporic, ancestral), migration and diaspora, cultural dynamics of globalization, consumption, tourism and travel, material culture, gender, museums, and ethnographic research and writing, as well as introductory courses in social and cultural anthropology. Until 2017, she directed the SOAS MA Anthropology of Tourism and Travel and the weekly Anthropology of Tourism Colloquium Series. More recently, she has specialized in teaching fundamentals of anthropological research, analysis, and writing across the educational spectrum, from the Year 1 UG module Voice & Place to the final-year Independent Study Project seminar and from undergraduate ethnographic methods training to PhD thesis-writing workshops. She is currently convenor of the undergraduate single and joint honours degrees in Social Anthropology and departmental Exam Sub-Board Chair for all undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs. She also chairs the academic advisory board for the SOAS Undergraduate Research Journal.
Leite frequently consults for NGOs, government agencies, and businesses on issues relating to community identification and belonging, social exclusion, consumption, tourism and travel, and social inequality. She is Member-at-Large on the board of the European Network for Psychological Anthropology (ENPA). Previously, she was Co-Convenor of the Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group of the American Anthropological Association (2013-16). She co-founded the Berkeley Tourism Studies Working Group and has served on the editorial board of five international academic journals.
PhD Students supervised
- Alexx Salazar, ‘Same, Same, but Different’: Cambodian Shadow Puppets, Khmer Identity, and the Malleability of Tradition
- Anna Cohen, Ridley Road and Broadway Market: Food markets, social change, and the construction of community in Hackney’s ‘Urban Village’ (working title)
- Anna Colquhoun, Food and tourism in Istria: Local specialities and the construction of a region (working title)
- Eric Smith Vintner, A World of Our Own: The Negotiation of Cosmology in Contemporary Japanese Animation
- Jade Lee, Women of the British Colonial Service: Contested Identities and Liminal Lives, 1936 – 1961
Current PhD students: Flora Hastings, Emily Imamura, Alexx Salazar, Elizabeth Smith
As a whole, my work focuses on identity, identification, belonging, and exclusion across domains and scales of sociality, from the interpersonal to the institutional to the most abstractly imagined. I have a strong interest in cultural logics and modes of reasoning, lived experience, meaning-making, expressions of kinship and relatedness, and the social, cultural, and intersubjective constitution of self, especially in relation to prevailing systems of social classification.
Much of my work has explored these themes in tourism encounters, a context ripe for alternative expressions of self and enactments of cross-cultural (dis)identification. My first book, Unorthodox Kin: Portuguese Marranos and the Global Search for Belonging, brings all these interests together in an exploration of self-making and intersubjective encounter among urban Portuguese adults who self-identify as having hidden Inquisition-era Jewish ancestry and the foreign Jewish tourists and educators who travel to meet them.
My second book, the co-edited volume The Ethnography of Tourism: Edward Bruner and Beyond (with Quetzil Castañeda and Kathleen Adams, Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), examines the theoretical and ethnographic contributions to tourism research made by the American anthropologist Edward M. Bruner, particularly his pathbreaking work on lived experience, meaning-making, encounter, identity, and narrative in contexts of travel. I have also published on linkages between identity, imagination, and embodied experience in tourism encounters; museums and heritage; the history of anthropological theory; and theoretical and methodological approaches in the anthropology of tourism. I have conducted long-term fieldwork in Portugal, the United States, and England, and am developing plans for future research in Kenya.
My newest research project is a comparative, cross-cultural study of informal sociality, belonging, and exclusion in tacitly or explicitly “inclusive” institutions—therapeutic communities, youth programs, workplaces, retreat centers—with an eye to differing models, experiences, and outcomes of “inclusion," as well as institutional and interpersonal mechanisms that foster or hinder its fruition. The first stage of this project, an ethnographic examination of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion efforts at an urban British university, began in late 2020.
I have ongoing publication projects in the areas of rationality and metacognition; cultural logics and enactments of kinship and peoplehood; and intersubjectivity and vulnerability in ethnographic practice.
I believe strongly in making the results of my work accessible to a wide audience and am committed to providing anthropological expertise for campaigns to create more humane, open, and just institutions. To that end, I frequently consult for NGOs, government agencies, and businesses on issues relating to community identification, belonging and exclusion, consumption, tourism and travel, and social inequality.
Leite, Naomi (2017) Unorthodox Kin: Portuguese Marranos and the Global Search for Belonging. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Leite, Naomi and Graburn, Nelson (2010) 'L'anthropologie pour étudier le tourisme'. Mondes du Tourisme, (1) 1, pp 17-29.
Leite, Naomi (2005) 'Travels to an Ancestral Past: On Diasporic Tourism, Embodied Memory, and Identity'. Antropologicas, (9), pp 273-302.
Graburn, Nelson and Leite, Naomi (2004) 'Comment. Looking Several Ways: Anthropology and Native Heritage in Alaska by James Clifford.'. Current Anthropology, (45) 1, pp 24-25.
Leite, Naomi and Castañeda, Quetzil E. and Adams, Kathleen M., (eds.), (2019) The Ethnography of Tourism: Edward Bruner and Beyond. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books / Rowman & Littlefield. (The Anthropology of Tourism: Heritage, Mobility, and Society).
Leite, Naomi and Santos, Paula Mota, (eds.), (2018) Home Imaginings: Travel, Place, and Belonging. International Journal of Tourism Anthropology.
Leite, Naomi and Castañeda, Quetzil and Adams, Kathleen (2019) 'The Ethnography of Tourism: Encounter, Experience, Emergent Culture'. In: Leite, Naomi M. and Castañeda, Quetzil E. and Adams, Kathleen M., (eds.), The Ethnography of Tourism: Edward Bruner and Beyond. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield, pp 1-46.
Leite, Naomi and Graburn, Nelson (2019) 'Always in Process: Edward Bruner, American Anthropology, and the Study of Tourism.'. In: Leite, Naomi and Castañeda, Quetzil E. and Adams, Kathleen M., (eds.), The Ethnography of Tourism: Edward Bruner and Beyond. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield, pp 49-64.
Leite, Naomi (2014) 'Locating Imaginaries in the Anthropology of Tourism'. In: Salazar, Noel and Graburn, Nelson, (eds.), Tourism Imaginaries: Anthropological Approaches. Oxford: Berghahn, pp 260-278.
Leite, Naomi and Graburn, Nelson (2009) 'Anthropological Interventions in Tourism Studies'. In: Robinson, Mike and Jamal, Tazim, (eds.), The Sage Handbook of Tourism Studies. London: Sage, pp 35-64.
Leite, Naomi (2007) 'Materializing Absence: Tourists, Surrogates, and the Making of Jewish Portugal'. In: Robinson, Mike, (ed.), Things That Move: The Material World of Tourism and Travel. Leeds: Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, Leeds Metropolitan University.
Leite, Naomi (2012) 'Review of Thinking Through Tourism, ed. by Julie Scott and Tom Selwyn.'. Anthropos, (107) 2, pp 669-670.
Graburn, Nelson and Leite, Naomi (2006) 'Review of Contemporary Tourism: Diversity and Change, by Erik Cohen.'. Annals of Tourism Research, (33) 1, pp 269-271.
Leite, Naomi and Swain, Margaret (2015) 'Anthropology of Tourism'.
This list was last generated on Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 09:51 Europe/London.