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Naomi Leite
Reader in Anthropology SOAS, University of LondonDepartment of Anthropology

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) and is the winner of the Bruner Book Prize, Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group, American Anthropological Association, 2020.

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.

 

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Kenneth William Little
Associate Professor York University – Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional StudiesDepartment of Anthropology

Kenneth Little is an Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at York University, Toronto. Most generally his research focuses on the critical turn in anthropology to affect, social creativity, and performativity. Currently, he is conducting long-term research on the rise of the tourist state in Belize. His work attends to how tourism becomes a significant modality through which contemporary everyday life in Belize is organized and how tourist encounters open imaginative spaces that stimulate new subject productions, highlight new aspects of social relations and interactions with nature that actively ensure new “fantasies of becoming.” He is also committed to developing a generative poetics of tourism encounter that understands writing as inseparable from our engagement in the world; writing ethnography as an occurant art. Favouring a non-representationalist, assemblages, productivist-materialist approach to critical tourism studies, as a way of augmenting a dialectical, representationalist one, means developing ethnographic work in tourism studies that is meant to engage the anthropology of tourism with a literature that it mostly doesn’t think with, namely critical post-humanist debates concerned with how encounters “matter” and how matter is thought and constituted through entanglements, refrains, knots, and figures of human and non-human bodies, affects, objects, and practices. He most recently completed a book on this subject entitled On the Nervous Edge of an Impossible Paradise: Affect, Tourism, Belize, Berghahn Books 2020.

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John Loewenthal
Postdoctoral Researcher, The Centre for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV), Mexico City; Online Course Tutor, Social Anthropology, University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education

John Loewenthal is a social and psychological anthropologist from the UK. His research has thus far explored the theme of aspiration (What do people want to do with their lives, and why? How are aspirations produced, negotiated, and revised over time?). He has adjacent research interests in such areas as: Higher Education and work, space and temporality, imagination and the life course, and person-centred and existential approaches. His PhD thesis was entitled: ‘Aspirations of university graduates: an ethnography in New York and Los Angeles’. A key notion that has been developed and published from this research is that of ‘fateful aspects of aspiration’ whereby young adults became constrained to life paths and proceeded to reckon with their pasts and futures.

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Joseph Long
Research and Policy Lead Scottish Autism

 

 

 

Joe Long leads a programme of applied research in services for autistic people in Scotland. His research concerns the ways that autism knowledge is generated and mobilized, and how clinical, policy, and practice discourses shape the experience of autistic people. Joe is committed to collaborative ethnography that meaningfully involves supported autistic people and support practitioners. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Aberdeen and was previously a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.