Veerendra Lele

Veerendra Lele

Associate Professor
Chair of Anthropology
Position Type
- Present
Other Affiliations

I am a broadly-trained anthropologist with primary research interests in semiotic anthropology, material culture and archaeology, racial, ethnic, and linguistic identity. I have secondary research interests in kinship, demography, philosophy, and history. My research program can be described as the semiotics of material culture and of cultural identities. Most of my fieldwork has been conducted in Ireland, in Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) communities, and more recently I have begun research in Central America. My ongoing research is an investigation of the phenomenological, temporal, and semiotic manifestations of material objects from the past in the present, focusing specifically on artefacts. Related to this, I have been consulting on a project on the semiotic aspects of ‘vintage fashion’. Through courses I have taught at Denison, I have also been able to research migrant identities in soccer. 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 2007, “Reading Dialogic Correspondence: Synge’s The Aran Islands”. New Hibernia Review. Geimhreadh/Winter 11:4
  • 2006, “Material Habits, Identity, Semeiotic”. Journal of Social Archaeology. 6:1
  • 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


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