Kevin Lewis O'Neill

Jackman Humanities Building, Room 301, 170 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5R 2M8


Fields of Study

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. A cultural anthropologist, his work focuses on the moral dimensions of contemporary political practice in Latin America. O’Neill has written several books 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 2019) as well as a bilingual photography book titled Art of Captivity / Arte del Cautiverio (University of Toronto Press 2020) with Benjamin Fogarty-Valenzuela. Working across the themes of democracy, security, and drugs, these books explore 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 clerical 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 also edits 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