Dr Alysa Ghose

Lecturer in Religion and Decolonisation


I earned my PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2019 and am an anthropologist by training. I held a lectureship in the Anthropology of Race and Decoloniality in Social Anthropology at Edinburgh from 2020-2021 and another Social Anthropology Lectureship at the University of Manchester before returning to Edinburgh in Religious Studies.

Undergraduate teaching

Sample courses include:

TRS Foundations Seminar: Religion in/and the Black Atlantic

Global Indigenous Religions: Africa and the Diaspora

Postgraduate teaching

Sample courses include:

The Practice of Fieldwork in the Study of Religion 

Race and Religiosity 

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am interested in supervising projects regarding religiosity and (post)/(de)coloniality and colonialism; Afrodiasporic religiosity; trance and/or 'possession;' religion and reproduction, gender, and sexuality; religion and kinship and/or relationships with spirits and ancestors; religion and race; ethnographic, everyday explorations of religion and spirituality.

Research summary

My work is focused in Cuba on questions of race, gender, kinship, sexuality, and nation. My first book project: 'Mothers, Spirits, and Hustlers: Gender, Race and Making Do in Cuban Espiritismo' examines Espiritismo Cruzado, a religious tradition of African inspiration, predicated on communication with spirits of the dead. I show how relationships and communities (made up of both the living and the dead) are fostered and how they help practitioners get by in the everyday hustle of making do in post-Soviet, post-Fidel Havana. I endeavour to address the interrelated material and affective concerns of my interlocutors on their terms.

Current research interests

My forthcoming research examines reproduction and citizenship to make sense of how women and families are navigating the country’s political and economic situation through the lens of community building-as-spirituality. I examine Cuba as an island attempting to stay afloat as a socialist welfare state in a sea of late capitalism, considering the legacies of the US Trump administration’s policies, COVID-19, and the largescale economic crisis which have exacerbated existing difficulties of the longstanding global embargo. This project looks at questions of motherhood as it is configured and experienced in dialogue with post-plantation legacies in the Caribbean and Americas more broadly.

Past research interests

I have also conducted ethnographic research in other Latin American contexts concerning spirituality, reproductive health, gender and race.