Llerena Searle

Llerena G. Searle

  • Associate Professor


Office Location
443 Lattimore Hall
(585) 275-8740

Office Hours: Spring 2024: on leave

Research Overview

Prof Searle’s research explores the social, cultural, and geographical changes that have accompanied globalization in South Asia and the ways in which capitalist practices shape urban space. Her first book, Landscapes of Accumulation: Real Estate and the Neoliberal Imagination in Contemporary India (University of Chicago Press, 2016) explains the rapid growth of Indian cities and the proliferation of new malls, high-rises, and office parks across India by examining the practices and ideas of those who fund real estate projects. Prof Searle worked with international financiers and real estate developers to understand how they transform Indian buildings into legible assets available to international networks of speculative finance. Building on her interest in cultures of capitalism, her current research investigates new markets for home décor goods, as well as the relationship between craft revival and global aesthetics in Indian interior design. This research had been funded by the US Fulbright Program, The Amercian Institute of Indian Studies and the University of Rochester through a Ferrari Humanities Research Award.

Research Interests

  • Urbanization
  • infrastructure
  • capitalism and global finance
  • value
  • speculation
  • material culture
  • media and consumer cultures
  • South Asia

Selected Publications


Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • Searle, Llerena Guiu. 2020. “Market Stance: Navigating Face-Threatening Terrain in Indian Real Estate.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 30(1): 27-47.
  • Searle, Llerena Guiu. 2018. “The Contradictions of Mediation: Intermediaries and the Financialization of Urban Production.” Economy and Society 47(4): 524-546.
  • Searle, Llerena Guiu. 2014. Conflict and commensuration: Contested market making in India’s private real estate development sector. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38(1): 60-79.
  • Searle, Llerena Guiu. 2013. “Conflict and commensuration: Contested market making in India’s private real estate development sector.” In Contesting the Indian city: Global visions and the politics of the local, editor Gavin Shaktin. Wiley-Blackwell, Studies in Urban Change.
  • Searle, Llerena Guiu. 2013. Constructing prestige and elaborating the ‘professional’: Elite residential complexes in the National Capital Region, India. Contributions to Indian Sociology 47(2): 271-302.
  • Nakassis, Constantine V. and Llerena Guiu Searle. 2013. Introduction: Constructing boundaries and negotiating status: Self-fashioning projects in post-liberalization India. Contributions to Indian Sociology 47(2): 169-83. 

Other Publications

  • Seminarist. 2008. Betting on growth. Seminar February (582): 51-6.



  • Ant 121: The City: Contested Spaces
  • Ant 205: Theories & Debates in Anthropology: Personhood
  • Ant 268: Science, Culture, and Expertise


  • American Institute of Indian Studies, Senior Research Fellowship, 2023
  • Ferrari Humanities Research Award, University of Rochester, 2023-2026
  • Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship, 2018
  • Internal Junior Fellow, Humanities Center, University of Rochester, Spring 2017
  • American Institute of Indian Studies, Junior Dissertation Research Fellowship, 2007-2008
  • National Science Foundation, Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, 2006
  • American Institute of Indian Studies, Advanced Language Program Fellowship, 2004-2005