Specialist in US Religion and Politics. PhD Study of Religion (SOAS, University of London). Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow. Book with Fordham University Press. Published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Patterns of Prejudice, Political Theology.
Available to consult on:
Gender in Reactionary Movements;
Demonology, Past and Present;
Politics of Witchcraft;
S. Jonathon O’Donnell
I am a specialist in American Religious and Cultural Studies, with a focus on the religious right and systems of dehumanisation. My work tackles critical contemporary issues of global significance, including Islamophobia, antisemitism, transphobia, and religious nationalism. I currently work as an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at University College Dublin, where my research analyses the relation between evangelical demonology, authoritarianism, and “post-truth politics” in Trump’s America.
I earned my PhD in the Study of Religions from SOAS, University of London, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. My doctoral dissertation used deconstruction to analyse discourses of sovereignty, apocalypticism, and demonology in the post-9/11 USA. Since completing my doctorate I have held positions in the United Kingdom, Japan, and Ireland, bringing this transnational experience to bear in both my scholarship and pedagogical practice. I have been published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as Ethnic and Racial Studies, Patterns of Prejudice, and Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, as well as in edited scholarly collections, including The Hermeneutics of Hell (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and The Concept of Hell (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
My first monograph, Passing Orders: Demonology and Sovereignty in American Spiritual Warfare (Fordham University Press, 2021), deploys critical theory, critical race theory and decolonial critique to deconstruct “spiritual warfare” demonologies in the contemporary United States, demonstrating their imbrication in broader formations of American exceptionalism, ethnonationalism, and empire-management.
I am currently conducting two larger research projects. The first, simply titled Political Demonology, is a historical and philosophical analysis of the relationship between demonisation and the concept of political sovereignty. The first part of this project, which looks at witchcraft and statecraft in the work of Jean Bodin, is published in the journal Political Theology. The second project, tentatively titled Damned Ecology, expands on the research into American evangelicalism conducted for Passing Orders by situating evangelical demonology in relation to discourses of environmental crisis, posthumanism, and rising ecofascism. In addition, I am also preparing a piece on the ties between Christian concepts of evil and discourses of capitalist property ownership, and another elaborating on my methodological project of “critical demonology.”