Girish Daswani

Girish Daswani

Girish Daswani, Ph.D. (London School of Economics, 2007)
Associate Professor, Scarborough Campus (UTSC)

*ON LEAVE July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021*

(416) 208-2892
Office: MW 374 (Main), AP 348 (St. George)

Research Keywords: Religion, Diaspora and Transnationalism, Morality and Ethics, Activism and Corruption

Research Region: Ghana

Research Bio

Girish Daswani is a social-cultural anthropologist with a special interest in Ghana. For his first book Looking Back, Moving Forward: Transformation and Ethical Practice in the Ghanaian Church of Pentecost, Professor Daswani conducted multi-sited research with members of a Ghanaian Pentecostal church in southern Ghana and London. Focusing on Pentecostal Christianity as an ethical framework for understanding individual and social change, he looked at how Pentecostalism subjectively frames and facilitates church members ideas of religious transformation, personhood, and overseas travel. Professor Daswani’s current research examines how different segments of Ghanaian society are responding to escalating accusations of political and moral corruption: they include activists, artists, prophets, street traders and traditional priests.



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).


2018. “Ethics and morality, anthropological approaches to…” In Hilary Callan (Editor). International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Wiley-Blackwell.

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

Forthcoming. Moving by the Spirit: Pentecostal Social Life on the Zambian Copper Belt. Religion and Society: Advances in Research.

2017. Same but not the same: White fantasies and (In)difference in the Time of Trump. Everyday Orientalism Blog.

2017. A “global message of unity, peace and understanding”? Pepsi’s white, privileged gaze on protesting bodies. Everyday Orientalism Blog. Co-authored with Katherine Blouin.

2017. Christianity, Wealth and Spiritual Power in Ghana. AnthroCyBib: The Anthropology of Christianity Bibliography Blog.

2016. Living the Hiplife: Celebrity and Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Popular Music. American Ethnologist 43(4): 788-789.

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.


2018. “The Benefits of Not Belonging” TedxUTSC Talk.

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

2014. “Where are you from, really?” TedxUTSC Talk. Click here for interview

Graduate Students

Nicholas Howe Bukowski