Specialist in US Religion and Politics. PhD Study of Religion (SOAS, University of London). Visiting Scholar at QUB. Book with Fordham University Press. Published in Religion, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Political Theology.
Available to consult on:
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 demonization, sovereign power, and the religious right. My work tackles critical contemporary issues of global significance, including Islamophobia, antisemitism, transphobia, and religious nationalism. I am currently an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at University College Dublin and a Visiting Scholar in the School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast.
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, where I was a recipient of an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship. I bring this transnational experience to bear in both my scholarship and pedagogical practice. I have been published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as Religion and Ethnic and Racial Studies, 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), uses 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 which build on the work conducted for Passing Orders. The first, tentatively titled Over Pandemonium, is a genealogy of demonological imagery in political theorists of sovereignty. The first part of this project, which explores sovereignty, patriarchy, and witchcraft in the work of Jean Bodin, has been published in the journal Political Theology. The second, tentatively titled Damned Ecology, expands on the research into American evangelicalism by situating its demonologies in relation to discourses of environmental crisis, posthumanism, and rising ecofascism.
I tweet, occasionally, from @demonologian.