Girish Daswani

Photo of Prof. Girish DaswaniGirish Daswani, Ph.D. (London School of Economics, 2007)
Associate Professor, Scarborough Campus
(416) 208-2892
Office: MW 374 (Main) and AP 348 (St. George)

Research Keywords: Religious change, ritual, transnationalism and diaspora, politics of culture

Research Region: Ghana, London.

UTSC Profile Page:

Research Bio

Girish Daswani is a Social Anthropologist with a special interest in Ghana, the anthropology of religion, diaspora and transnationalism. He received his PhD from the London School of Economics in 2007. Dr. Daswani conducted multi-sited research with members of a Ghanaian Pentecostal church in southern Ghana and London (U.K.). In his work he looks at how Pentecostalism – its religious intermediaries, ideologies, and rituals – subjectively frames and facilitates church members ideas of religious transformation, Christian personhood, and aspirations for overseas travel. He looked at ‘transformation’ as a central theme in Pentecostal Christianity, as a moral and ethical framework for understanding individual and social change in southern Ghana and London. Transformation raises questions of continuity and discontinuity with the past, as expressed in concerns over ‘culture’ and identity, and the ways in which Pentecostal subjects become active agents in the world. While his specific interest is on different forms of Pentecostal expression in Ghana, and the migratory and missionary movement of members of the Church of Pentecost (CoP) from Ghana to London, he has also started research on certain key figures in Ghanaian social life and the perceived links between their acquisition of wealth and the moral evaluation of character.

Daswani, Looking BackRecent Publications


2015. Looking Back, Moving Forward: Transformation and Ethical Practice in the Ghanaian Church of Pentecost. University of Toronto Press. Finalist, Canada Prize in the Social Sciences.

2013. Editor with Ato Quayson. A Companion to Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Wiley-Blackwell.

Special Issue

2015. Co-editor with Jon Bialecki. Special Section on ‘The anthropology of personhood, redux: Views from Christianity’. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 5(1).


2013. The Globalization of Pentecostalism and the Limits of Globalization. In Janice Boddy and Michael Lambek (eds). A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion. Wiley Blackwell.

2013. The Anthropology of Diaspora and Transnationalism. In Ato Quayson and Girish Daswani (eds).  A Companion to Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Wiley-Blackwell.

2013 (with A. Quayson). Diaspora and Transnationalism: Scapes, Scopes and Scales. In Ato Quayson and Girish Daswani (eds). A Companion to Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Wiley-Blackwell.

2012. Global Pentecostal Networks and the problems of Culture: The Church of Pentecost in Ghana and Abroad’. In Michael Wilkinson (ed) Global Pentecostal Movements: Migration, Mission, and Public Religion. Brill.

2010. Ghanaian Pentecostal Prophets: Travel and (Im)-Mobility. In Kristine Krausse and Gertrud Huewelmeier (eds) Travelling Spirits, Migrants, Markets, and Moralities. Routledge Press.


2016. ‘Prophet but not for Profit’: Value and Virtue in Ghanaian Pentecostalism. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 20(1): 108-126.

2015. Christian Personhood in a Ghanaian Pentecostal Church. Milestones: AnthroCyBib Occasional Paper Series.

2015.  Co-authored with Jon Bialecki. Introduction: What is an Individual? The view from Christianity. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory  5(1): 271–294.

2013.  On Christianity and Ethics: Rupture as Ethical Practice in Ghanaian Pentecostalism. American Ethnologist 40(3): pp. 467-479

2011. (In-) Dividual Pentecostals in Ghana, Journal of Religion in Africa 41(3): 256-279.

2010. Transformation and Migration Among Members of a Pentecostal Church in Ghana and London, Journal of Religion in Africa 40(4): 424-474.

Reviews, Commentary, and Other Writing

2016. New Release Book Review. Webb Keane’s “Ethical Life: Its Natural and Social Histories”. Anthropological Quarterly 89(1): 305-314.

2016. Charisma and the Place of the Prophet in Our Times. Review of Ruy Llera Blanes’ “A Prophetic Trajectory”. Marginalia Los Angeles Review of Books.

2014. Ritual Textuality: Review Forum on Tomlinson, Matt. 2014. Ritual Textuality: Pattern and Motion in Performance. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

2011 (with S. Bunce and M. Cummings). Citizenship and Urban Space: Settlement for Newcomers to Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park, CERIS Working Paper No. 86.


2016 Interview with Girish Daswani. AnthroCyBib: The Anthropology of Christianity Bibliography Blog. Click here for interview.

Graduate Students

photo of Joseph Youssef
Joseph Youssef