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Department of Religions and Philosophies

Mr S. Jonathon O'Donnell

BA (Bath Spa) MA (SOAS)


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Mr S. Jonathon O'Donnell
Email address:
Thesis title:
Owning the Future: Sovereignty and Demonology in an Age of Terror
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

My thesis draws on poststructularist theory, primarily the work of Jacques Derrida and Michel de Certeau, to analyses the relation between demonology and sovereignty in apocalyptic and spiritual warfare discourses in the contemporary United States of America. It focuses on groups of texts published between 2008 and 2013 oriented around specific 'threats' to what is constructed by the authors as a 'legitimate' order and telos of being (a 'telic order'). Through a variety of case studies, I explore how these constructions of telic order operate as sovereignty claims, positing ownership of ‘the future’ as temporal, ideological, and geopolitical territory within the context of the theopolitics of identity. Such ownership is often predicated on complex strategies of (de)legitimation reliant on constructions of demonic others which, encoded in the religio-political structures of demonology, are discursively situated inside a systemic totality they can neither escape nor overcome but continually haunt via its structural dependency upon them as both its limit and its self-consolidating other(s).

PhD Publications

Forthcoming: ‘Whom We Resist: Subjectivity and Resistance at the Infernal Periphery’ in Benjamin Craw (ed.), Philosophical Approaches to Hell. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

2015: ‘A Digital Devil’s Saga: Representation(s) of the Demon in Recent Videogames’, Online–Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet 7: 139–160.

2014: ‘Our Demonic World’ in Robert Arp (ed.), The Devil and Philosophy: The Nature of His Game (Popular Culture and Philosophy). Chicago: Open Court.

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

PhD Conferences

2015 (12/07): ‘View(s) from the High Place: The Demon as Mirror of Humanity in Secular Modernity’ at Political Theology: The Liberation of the Post-secular? Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool.

2015 (17/06): ‘The Idol That I Will Have Been: Human and Divine Origins in the Transhuman Apocalyptic Visions of Thomas Horn and Douglas Hamp’ at Being Non/Human: Bodily Borders, Queen Mary, University of London, London.

2013 (29/01): ‘Saving the Nation (From Itself): Discourses of Othering in Post-Cold War Reconfigurations of American Neoconservatism’ at Study of Religions Research Seminar Series, SOAS, University of London, London.


British Association for the the Study of Religions (BASR)
European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE)
International Associations for the Study of Religion and Gender (IARG)


Continental Philosophy and Critical Theory, Demonology, Political Theology, Religion and Gender, Religion and Politics, Religion in Popular Culture