Veerendra Lele

Associate Professor & Chair
Central Campus
Knapp Hall 103F
Position Type 
All Affiliations 



I am a broadly-trained cultural anthropologist with primary research interests in semiotic anthropology, material culture and archeology, racial, ethnic, and linguistic identity. I have secondary interests in kinship, demography, anthropology and philosophy, and the history of anthropology. Most of my fieldwork has been conducted in Ireland, in Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) communities. My recently completed projects include an analysis and critique of the logic of racial profiling, using C.S. Peirce's arguments about the various forms of logical inference including retroduction/abduction, and his theories about iconicity. My current research can be described broadly as the semiotics of material culture and of cultural identities. I am engaged in an ongoing project investigating the phenomenological, temporal, and semiotic manifestations of material objects from the past in the present, focusing specifically on archaeological artefacts. Related to this I have been consulting on a project on the semiotic aspects of ‘vintage fashion’. My other newly-initiated project is on soccer and migrant identities. I teach courses on semiotic anthropology, social theory (classical and contemporary), race and ethnicity, anthropology of soccer, as well as courses in International Studies. I also teach our introductory course as well as our senior seminar.

A.B., Cornell University; M.A., Georgetown University; M.A., University of Michigan; M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University



Selected Publications:

  • Summer 2016, “Soccer as Ethnography”, Anthropology News.
  • November 2014, Book review of Olaf Zenker’s Irish/ness Is All around Us: Language Revivalism and the Culture of Ethnic Identity in Northern Ireland. American Ethnologist, v. 41, issue 4
  • Summer 2014, “Response to Sluis and Edwards, ‘Rethinking Combined Departments’” in Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences (LATISS) v.7, n.2
  • 2012, “Semiotic Ideologies of Race: Racial Profiling and Retroduction” in Recherches sémiotiques/ Semiotic Inquiry (RS/SI) v. 32
  • 2010, “Lessons in Racial Identity and Kinship” Anthropology News May 2010 See full article
  • 2009, ” 'It's not really a nickname, it's a method': Local Names, State Intimates, and Kinship Register in the Irish Gaeltacht”. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology v. 19:1 See full article
  • 2008, “Demographic Modernity” in Ireland: a cultural analysis of citizenship, migration, and fertility”. Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe (JSAE). v.8:1 See full article
  • 2007, “Reading Dialogic Correspondence: Synge's The Aran Islands”. New Hibernia Review. Geimhreadh/Winter 11:4 See full article
  • 2006, “Material Habits, Identity, Semeiotic”. Journal of Social Archaeology. 6:1 See full article
  • 2005, Book Review of S. Muthu's “Enlightenment Against Empire”. American Anthropologist. v.107:2

American Anthropological Association

*RTE/Raidio na Gaeltachta/ (Irish-language radio on the internet)*

Semiotic Anthropology