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Devaka PremawardhanaAssociate Professor

Devaka Premawardhana's research and teaching bring ethnographic and existential perspectives to bear on the fields of global Christianity and African religions. He is an anthropologist with extensive fieldwork experience in Makhuwa-speaking communities of Mozambique (in southeast Africa). His first book, Faith in Flux: Pentecostalism and Mobility in Rural Mozambique, explores the ambiguities of religious change among a traditionally mobile people. It contests the widely assumed narrative of a worldwide Pentecostal "explosion," doing so on the grounds that indigenous religions often remain vibrant and influential—even in the lives of converts.

Among other awards and honors, Premawardhana was named a 2017 Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine. He has served on the editorial board of the Encyclopedia of Christianity in the Global South and currently sits on the steering committee of the American Academy of Religion's African Religions unit. Before joining Emory's department of religion in 2018, Premawardhana earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University and taught at Colorado College.


  • PhD, Harvard University, 2014
  • MDiv, Harvard Divinity School, 2005
  • BA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2002

Research and Teaching

  • African religions
  • Indigenous religions
  • Global Christianities
  • Philosophical anthropology