Frank Korom

Professor of Religion & Anthropology


Department of Religion

Areas of Expertise

South Asian cultures & religions; Tibet; Caribbean; Hinduism, Sufism, diaspora studies, globalization & transnationalism; folklore & folklife; material culture; museum studies; anthropology of performance; ritual

View Professor Korom’s CV


Professor Frank Korom is currently completing a book on transnational Sufism with origins in Sri Lanka. If focuses on the career of an enigmatic Tamil-speaking saint, known simply as Guru Bawa to his earliest followers. Bawa began his career in northern Sri Lanka in the 1950s, but departed for the United States in the early 1970s, upon receiving a sponsored invitation from an American admirer. When he died in 1986, his community, or fellowship, that coalesced around him, buried his remains approximately forty miles outside of Philadelphia in a cemetery that they had established years earlier around their communal farm. The study looks at this unique individual’s life and message, as well as how his charismatic nature led to the institutionalization of his mission in North America. Lastly, it explores what has happened within the fellowship since Bawa’s death. Korom will complete this book during 2020, when he will be a fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany.

Selected Publications

  • South Asian Folklore in Transition. 2019. London: Routledge.
  • Anthropology of Performance. 2013. New York: Blackwell.
  • Village of Painters. 2006. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press.


  • CAS AN 243 Shamans & Shamanism
  • CAS AN 250 Understanding Folklore & Folklife
  • CAS AN 325/725 Hinduism, Globalization and World Politics
  • CAS AN 326/726 Oral Traditions as Verbal Art
  • CAS AN 375/775 Culture, Society and Religion in South Asia
  • CAS AN 384/784 Anthropological Study of Religion