Naomi Leite

Naomi Leite

Ph.D. Anthropology, University of California-Berkeley, 2011

Curator of Ethnography, University of Nebraska State Museum [website] & Post-Doctoral Fellow in Sociology

Affiliate Faculty in Anthropology, Global Studies, Graduate College

Office: 719 Oldfather Hall

Phone: (402) 472-7848


Cultural Anthropology

Major Research Interests

Cultural globalization and global interconnection; social identities; anthropology of tourism; heritage; kinship and relatedness; language and thought; material culture studies; museums; ethnographic methods


Book ms. under review. Global Affinities: Portuguese Marranos and the Alchemy of Ethnic Kinship.

In press (2014). "Locating Imaginaries in the Anthropology of Tourism," in Tourism Imaginaries: Anthropological Approaches, ed. Noel Salazar and Nelson Graburn. Oxford: Berghahn.

2012  Invited review of Julie Scott and Tom Selwyn, eds., Thinking Through Tourism. In Anthropos 107(2): 669-670.

2010  “L'anthropologie pour étudier le tourisme.” Mondes du Tourisme 1(1): 17-29. (first author, with Nelson Graburn)

2009  “Anthropological Interventions in Tourism Studies,” in The Sage Handbook of Tourism Studies, ed. Mike Robinson and Tazim Jamal. London: Sage, pp. 35-64. (first author, with Nelson Graburn)

2007  “Materializing Absence: Tourists, Surrogates, and the Making of Jewish Portugal,” in Things That Move: Material Worlds of Tourism and Travel, ed. Mike Robinson. Leeds, UK: Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change.

2006  Review of Erik Cohen, Contemporary Tourism: Diversity and Change, with Nelson Graburn. In Annals of Tourism Research 33(1): 269-71.

2006  Translation into Spanish of review of Erik Cohen, Contemporary Tourism: Diversity and Change, with Nelson Graburn. In Annals of Tourism Research en Español, 8(1): 195-97.

2005  “Travels to an Ancestral Past: On Diasporic Tourism, Embodied Memory, and Identity.” Antropológicas 9:273-302.

2004  Comment on James Clifford, “Looking Several Ways: Anthropology and Native Heritage in Alaska,” with Nelson Graburn. Current Anthropology 45(1): 24-25.

1994 "Master Metonymy List (Mappings of Conceptual Metonymy in the English Language).” Working Paper, Conceptual Metaphor Project. Berkeley: Linguistics / Institute for Cognitive Science, University of California.

Invited Talks and Select Conference Papers

Upcoming (2014). Invited talk: “Joining the Family: Marranos and Paradoxes of Jewish Ethnic Kinship.” International workshop: The Sacred Social - Investigations of Spiritual Kinship Among the Abrahamic Faiths. Sponsored by Wenner Gren Foundation & University of Virginia. March.

2013  Invited talk: “Imagination and Encounter: Lived Experiences of Tourism.” University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. December.

2013 “Tourism as Global Interconnection, Concretized: Imagination, Encounter, and the Work of Productive Miscommunication.” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, November.

2013  Invited discussant for session: “Entrepreneurship in the Patrimonialization Process: A Comparative Perspective,” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, November.

2013  Invited talk: “‘We’re all family here!’ Jewish Travelers, Portuguese Marranos, and Transnational Imaginings of Ethnic Kin.” 35th Annual Mid-America Conference: Transnationalism and Minority Cultures. University of Oklahoma. September.

2012   "Essentially Jewish: Family History, Ancestral Souls, and Portuguese Logics of Genealogical Causality." Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, CA. November.

2012  “Conversion or ‘Return'? Discourses of Being and Becoming Among Portugal's Urban Marranos.” “Jews at the Margins: Identity, Boundaries, Belonging,” an international symposium at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln

2012  "Ancestral Souls and Jewish Genes: Alternative Models of Jewishness from Portugal’s Urban Marranos." 25th Annual Klutznick-Harris Symposium, Creighton University

2011  Invited talk: "Our Heritage, Our Kin: Portugal’s Urban Marranos, Their Jewish Visitors, and the Creative Alchemy of Ethnic Kinship." Invited lecture, Program in Judaic Studies and Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma

2011  "Speaking of Heritage, Thinking Through Kinship: Preservation, Ownership, and Questions of Commensurability." Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Montreal, Quebec

2011   “Marrano Identity and the Logic of Genealogical Causality.” Guest lecture, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

2010   Invited talk: “Heritage, Embodied: Portugal's Marranos, Their Jewish Visitors, and the Pervasive Past.” Cultural Heritage Working Group, University of Toronto

2008   “From Portuguese Ancestral Identity to Global Ethnic Identification: Marranos and/as Jews.” Symposium on “Anthropologies of Identity in the Portuguese-Speaking World,” organized by the Portuguese Studies Program, University of California, Berkeley

2008   “Local Identity, Global Identification: Portugal’s New Marranos and Their Ashkenazi Jewish ‘Kin’ Abroad.” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, CA

2008   “Blurring the Researcher/Research Subject Distinction: ‘The Field’ as a State of Mind” (Theoretical introduction to co-organized session: Embodied Engagements: Shifting Subjectivities in Ethnographic Practice") Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, CA

2007   “Materializing Absence: Tourists, Surrogates, and the Making of ‘Jewish Portugal.’” Conference on “Things That Move: The Material Worlds of Tourism and Travel,” Leeds Metropolitan University, U.K.

2007   Invited talk: “Bodies, Spaces, Memories: Historical Tourism, Imagination, and the Materialization of Absence.” Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Colloquium Series, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley

2006   “Heritage Tourism as Social Practice: History, Ancestry, Emotion.” Guest lecture, Department of Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz

2005   “Rethinking Heritage Tourism: Reflections on “Heritage”, Experience, and Identity.” At “New Theoretical Paradigms in Tourism Research,” Biennial Seminar of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Tourism (RC-50), Wageningen, Holland

2004   Invited talk: “Anusim (Crypto-Jews) in Porto, Portugal: A Report from the Field.” Annual Meeting of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies, Portland, Oregon

2003   “Heritage Tourism and Portuguese-Jewish Ethnic Revival.” Paper presented in the Tourism Studies Working Group Colloquium Series, University of California, Berkeley

2003   “‘The Most Jewish Country in the World’: Hidden Heritage, Tourism, and the Re-Creation of Portuguese Jewishness.” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago

Research Networks, Advisory Committees, & Editorial Boards

2013-   Co-Convener, American Anthropological Association - Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group 

2012-   Editorial Board, Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change

2010-   Cultural Mobilities International Research Network

2009-   Academic Advisory Board, Tourism-Contact-Culture International Research Network

2009-10 Cultural Heritage Interest Group (based at University of Toronto, Canada)

2003-   Co-founder and five-term Co-Chair, Tourism Studies Working Group (based at University of California, Berkeley)

Selected Research Fellowships and Grants

Post-Doctoral Grant, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, 2013-14
Ruth S. Freed Memorial Award in Anthropology, UC Berkeley, 2010
Fialon Doctoral Fellowship, Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley, 2003-08
Doctoral Research Fellowship, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, 2005-06
Doctoral Research Fellowship, Maurice Amado Foundation, 2004-05
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 1995-98

Professional Memberships

American Anthropological Association
Portuguese Anthropological Association
Association for Jewish Studies
Council for the Anthropology of Jews and Judaism
Council for Museum Anthropology
Society for the Anthropology of Europe
Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology

Courses Taught

Cultural Dynamics of Globalization
Globalization, Religion, and Identity
Global Studies Capstone Seminar: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
The Anthropology of Jews and Jewishness
Anthropology of Museums (Independent Reading)
Women in Contemporary Society: A Global Perspective