Girish Daswani

Girish Daswani
Associate Professor
(416) 208-2892


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.


  • Centre for Ethnography, UTSC
  • Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies, UofT
  • Graduate Department for the Study of Religion, UofT

Research Interests: 

Religious change, ritual, transnationalism and diaspora, politics of culture

Awards and Grants: 

  • 2009 CERIS Research Grant $12,500. "Citizenship and Suburban Space: Intersections of Housing, Services, Identity and Belonging for Newcomers in Kingston/Galloway/Orton Park, Scarborough". Principal Investigator. Collaborators: Professors Susan Bunce and Magie Cummings.
  • 2008 Student Experience Fund (SEF), Student Summer Ethnographic Research Project. $3500. Co-recipient with Professor Maggie Cummings.
  • 2008 SSHRC Institutional Grant, (SIG), Spirit Mediums, Local Histories and Global Identities in Southern Ghana. $2750, Principal Investigator.


Forthcoming. ‘Prophet but not for Profit': Value and Virtue in Ghanaian Pentecostalism. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching Interests: 

  • Culture, Politics and Globalization
  • The Anthropology of Transnationalism
  • Conceptualizing Religion