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Unorthodox Kin is a groundbreaking exploration of identity, relatedness, and belonging in the context of profound global interconnection. Naomi Leite paints a poignant and graceful portrait of Portugal's urban Marranos, who trace their ancestry to fifteenth-century Jews forcibly converted to Catholicism and now seek connection with the Jewish people at large. Their story raises questions fundamental to the human condition: how people come to identify with far-flung others; how some find glimmerings of mystical connection in a world said to be disenchanted; how identities are lived in practice and challenged in interaction; how the horizons of kinship expand in a globally interconnected era; and how feelings of relatedness emerge between strangers and gather strength over time. Focusing on mutual imaginings and face-to-face encounters between urban Marranos and the foreign Jewish tourists and outreach workers who travel to meet them, Leite draws on a decade of ethnographic research in Portugal to trace participants' perceptions of self, peoplehood, and belonging as they evolve through local and global social spaces.
Naomi Leite is Lecturer in Social Anthropology and Director of Studies in Anthropology of Travel and Tourism at SOAS, University of London.