David Amponsah


Presidential Assistant Professor of Africana Studies


David Amponsah is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies. He received his PhD from Harvard University in 2015 where he specialized in African Religious History. 

His teaching and research concerns are guided by an interest in exploring the ways in which religion intersects with various facets of life in Africa and its diaspora. He is currently working on two book projects. The first, “Unholy Interplay” examines the role of indigenous priests and shrines in the formation of colonial Ghana. Particularly, the project interrogates how statecraft was enacted, contested, and negotiated through the state’s suppression and appropriation of Indigenous religious cultures.

This interdisciplinary work combines religious, cultural, political, and legal histories with analysis of indigenous epistemologies. The second, “Enchanted Geography,” is a social and cultural history of how and why Ghanaians and Nigerians came to construct India as a reservoir of potent supernatural powers beginning in the early part of the twentieth-century. The work further highlights the work West Africans called on India to do in their imaginings. This project links British colonial history, Indian migration to West Africa, World War II, and indigenous religious cultures. His work has appeared in the Journal of Africana Religions and is forthcoming from the International Journal of African Historical Studies.


Research Interests
  • African Religious History
  • Health and Healing in Africa
  • Religion, Politics, and Power
  • Colonialism and Empire
  • Africa–India Relations