Kevin Lewis O'Neill

Director, Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies
Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies Jackman Humanities Building 170 St. George Street, Room 230B Toronto, ON, M5R 2M8



Department for The Study of Religion

Areas of Interest

  • Diaspora and Transnationalism
  • Religion in the Americas
  • History of Religions
  • Ethnographic Inquiry


Kevin Lewis O’Neill is the Director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies and Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. His work, deeply ethnographic, focuses on the moral dimensions of contemporary political practice in Latin America. To this end, O’Neill has written a trilogy on the politics of Pentecostalism in Guatemala City – City of God (University of California Press, 2010); Secure the Soul (University of California Press, 2015); and Hunted (University of Chicago Press, August 2019). Working across the themes of democracy, security, and drugs, each book explores the waning viability of disciplinary institutions and how new strains of Christian piety have become recognizable modes of governance in Central America.

O'Neill is currently writing two books. The first is supported by a 2021 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. It considers clearical sexual abuse in Latin America, with a focus on U.S. priests who moved (or were moved) to Central America to evade suspicion and, at times, prosecution. The second is an ethnography of traffic in Guatemala City that realigns conversations about security, mobility, and infrastructure in Latin America.

Professor O’Neill is also the editor of a book series with the University of California Press – Atelier: Ethnographic Inquiry in the Twenty-First Century.


PhD, Stanford University
AM, Stanford University
MTS, Harvard University
BA, Fordham University


Administrative Service

Director, Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies