About

I am an IRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin. My research draws on religious studies, political philosophy, and critical theory to interrogate the relationship between contemporary demonology and systems of social prejudice, including queer- and transphobia, antiblackness, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and settler colonialism.

My first monograph, entitled Passing Orders: Sovereignty in the Time of Demons, will be published by Fordham University Press in 2020. The book brings political theology into dialogue with queer, critical race, and decolonial theory to interrogate discourses of “spiritual warfare” in America today. Exploring the interwoven demonologies of Jezebel, the Islamic Antichrist, and Leviathan, it demonstrates the way that systems of sovereign power sustain themselves through the conjuration and domination of demonised others, and how these demonised others unsettle and deconstruct those systems from within.

I am currently working on two monograph projects, in addition to adjacent journal articles and essays. The first is an examination of the relationship between contemporary demonology, ethnonationalism, and the climate crisis, exploring how ideas of demons today work to justify interwoven notions of political, social, and environmental ecology. The second is an interrogation of the demon’s relationship to the secular, looking at the post-Romantic transition of the demon from theology to literature and the way this transition exemplifies the relationship between religion and secularity.

Education

PhD: Study of Religions (SOAS, University of London)


  • Thesis Title: Owning the Future: Demonology and the Architecture of Sovereignty in a Time of Terror.

  • Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Doctoral Scheme Studentship.

  • Committee: Dr Sîan Hawthorne; Dr Jan-Peter Hartung; Prof. Cosimo Zene.

  • Examiners: Dr Stefan Skrimshire; Dr Michael Hoelzl.


MA: Religions (SOAS, University of London)

Other Publications

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles


  • ‘Antisemitism Under Erasure: Christian Zionist Anti-Globalism and the Refusal of Cohabitation.’ Ethnic and Racial Studies (Forthcoming).

  • ‘Unipolar Dispensations: Exceptionalism, Empire, and the End of One America.’ Political Theology 20(1) (2019): 66–84.

  • ‘Islamophobic Conspiracism and Neoliberal Subjectivity: The Inassimilable Society.’ Patterns of Prejudice 52(1) (2018): 1–23.

  • ‘The Body Politic(s) of the Jezebel Spirit.’ Religion & Gender 7(2): Religion, Gender, and Body Politics (Special Issue) (2017): 240–255.

  • ‘Secularizing Demons: Fundamentalist Navigations in Religion and Secularity.’ Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 51(3) (2016): 640–660.

  • ‘A Digital Devil’s Saga: Representations of the Demon in Recent Videogames.’ Online–Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet7: Religion in Digital Games Reloaded (Special Issue) (2015): 139–159.


Book Sections


  • ‘Patriot Act.’ In Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories in American History, eds. Christopher R. Fee and Jeffrey B. Webb (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2019). 

  • ‘Satellites & Surveillance.’ In Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories in American History, eds. Christopher R. Fee and Jeffrey B. Webb (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2019).

  • ‘Literature, Theology, Survival.’ In The Hermeneutics of Hell: Visionsand Representations of the Devil in World Literature, eds. Gregor Thuswaldner and Daniel Russ (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 143–164.

  • ‘Apocalyptic Rhetoric.’ In Gender: God, ed. Sîan Hawthorne (Farrington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2017), 297–311.

  • (with Elena Volkova) ‘Blasphemy, Speech, and Gender Resistance.’ In Gender: God, ed. Sîan Hawthorne (Farrington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2017), 213–227.

  • ‘Postsecular.’ In Gender: Sources, Perspectives, and Methodologies, ed. renée c. hoogland. (Farrington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2016), 305–318.

  • ‘Whom We Resist: Subjectivity and Resistance at the Infernal Periphery.’ In The Concept of Hell, ed. Benjamin W. McCraw and Robert Arp (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 169–183.


Book Reviews


  • ‘Donovan O. Schaefer, Religious Affects: Evolution, Animality, and Power. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015.’ Bulletin of the British Association for the Study of Religions 132 (2018): 32–34.

  • ‘Linda Martín Alcoff and John D. Caputo (eds.), Feminism, Sexuality, and the Return of Religion. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011.’ Religion & Gender 3(2) (2013): 268–70.

S. Jonathon O'Donnell

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