Dr Gregory Deacon
I've been working in the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies since September 2011, on a project looking at Pentecostal / Evangelical Christianity in Kenya – especially its role in survival, politics and economics. In practice, that means a year publishing from my doctoral thesis, a year of fieldwork in Kenya and then writing a book about it all. There’s some supervising and teaching too to keep me busy. My interest in all this is professional, as Pentecostal Studies is a growing field, but also personal as Kenya’s been my second home for over 15 years now.
My research builds on my academic and other work before I joined SIAS. I’ve worked on electoral reform, a Cabinet Office research team and (most proudly!) two years setting up an investment fund in one of the most deprived areas of Europe, in London, which was the catalyst for 28 successful new social enterprises with a combined turnover of more than £3 million and created over 200 new jobs. I like that SIAS is a community but I’m very free to do what I need to do – with access to world-class experts up the stairs and next door. My Swahili is fluent from a BA degree (combined with Development Studies). I also have an MA in African Christianity, which led to my University of London PhD, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This fellowship comes from the British Academy and I am also a Junior Research Fellow at St Antony’s College.
I have an article coming out in Development in Practice called ‘Pentecostalism and Development in Kibera Informal Settlement, Nairobi’ and some other articles in review; along with a paper in conference proceedings in the series Outlook on Civil Society (University of Uppsala). Going back there’s also Deacon, Keita and Ritchie, Burnley and the BNP and the Case for Electoral Reform; and Africa, a chapter in ‘Your Gap Year’ (Crimson).