Girish Daswani

Associate Professor
MW 374 (Main), AP 348 (St. George)
(416) 208-2892


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

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

Research Region: Ghana


Girish Daswani’s research interests include Ghana, religion, morality and ethics, transnationalism, corruption and activism. Girish’s work centers on the socio-political dynamics between individual lives and collective forms of transformation. His first book examines the ethical dimensions of a Pentecostalism, in shaping the collective aspirations and individual lives of members from The Church of Pentecost in Ghana and London. Girish’s most recent scholarly work has been exploring different activist, artistic and religious responses to political corruption. He is currently working on a book manuscript, a comic and a documentary about the intersections of post/colonialism and activism in Ghana. His most recent public-facing work has been exploring the ways in which imperialism, colonialism, and Orientalism have impacted (and are still impacting) popular politics and the field of Anthropology. You can also watch him give TedxUTSC talks (2014; 2018) and read him on the blogs Everyday Orientalism and AfricaProactive.


Ph.D., London School of Economics, 2007



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.


2020. On Cynicism: Activist and Artistic Responses to Corruption in Ghana. Cultural Anthropology 35 (1): 104-133.

2019. Ordinary Ethics and Its Temporalities: The Christian God and the 2016 Ghanaian Elections. Anthropological Theory 19(3): 323-340.

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

2015. Christian Personhood in a Ghanaian Pentecostal ChurchMilestones: 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 PentecostalismAmerican 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 and Commentary

2020. “Beyond Religion or When the Experience Surprises”. Symposium to Jon Bialecki’s (2017) A Diagram for Fire: Miracles and Variation in an American Charismatic Movement. Berkeley: University of California Press. Syndicate.

2020. “Equity and Online Learning Survey Results” Discovering University Worlds. Research Memo. Co-authored with L. Chan, M. Hunter, M. Hird-Younger and K. Way.

2020. Comments on “The Expansive Present: A New Model of Christian Time” by Naomi Haynes. Current Anthropology 61 (1): 57-76.

2019. Moving by the Spirit: Pentecostal Social Life on the Zambian Copper BeltReligion and Society: Advances in Research.

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.

Public Engagement

“This is Not Namaste Wahala: On Silences, (His)Stories and Ghana’s Oldest South Asian Community”Everyday Orientalism / AfricaProactive, February 2021.

“On the Whiteness of Academia”Everyday Orientalism, February 2021.

““Near and Far”: How COVID-19 will affect social interactions”UTSC News, June 2020.

“From Accra to Harlem and Back: Black Histories Matter”Africa Proactive, June 2020.

“Teaching the Intersection Between Classics, Anthropology, and Colonialism in 2020”Everyday Orientalism, May 2020 [with Katherine Blouin].

“Teaching Orientalism through Art Practice: ‘Othered’. The Virtual Exhibit”Everyday Orientalism, April 2020 [with Katherine Blouin].

“Near and Far: On the Dilemmas of Social Distancing”Everyday Orientalism, March 2020.

“God’s Business: Artivist Responses to Ghana’s National Cathedral Project”Africa Proactive, January 2020.

“Ghana’s National Cathedral: Chale, what’s up with that?”Africa Proactive, November 2019.

“Brownfaced, Blackfaced, and the Limits of Multiculturalism”Everyday Orientalism, October 2019.

“On the Whiteness of Anthropology – Sur la blanchité de l’anthropologie”Everyday Orientalism, July 2019.

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

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


2019. “Decolonizing the Classroom: A Conversation with Girish Daswani”. By Sarah O’Sullivan. Society for Cultural Anthropology [Teaching Tools].

2019. Interviewed by Global News “Living in Color” on ‘What is Internalized Racism?’ Click here for interview.

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.

Graduate Students