Naomi Leite is a Reader in Anthropology at SOAS, University of London. A psychological and cultural anthropologist, her 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. She has a strong interest in cultural logics and modes of reasoning, lived experience, and the social, cultural, and intersubjective constitution of self, especially in relation to prevailing systems of social classification. Much of her work has explored these themes in tourism encounters, a context ripe for alternative expressions of self and enactments of transcultural (dis)identification. All of these topics come together in her first book, Unorthodox Kin: Portuguese Marranos and the Global Search for Belonging (University of California Press, 2017), winner of the 2018 Stirling Prize for Best Publication in Psychological Anthropology. She also co-edited The Ethnography of Tourism (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019).
Her new research, a comparative project involving sites in three countries, turns to informal sociality, belonging, and exclusion in tacitly or explicitly “inclusive” institutions—therapeutic communities, counterextremist youth programs, 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. Dr. Leite also has ongoing projects in the areas of rationality and metacognition; cultural logics and enactments of kinship and peoplehood; and intersubjectivity and vulnerability in ethnographic practice.