Profile

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Academia.edu profile.

I am currently a PHD student in the department of Religious Studies at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Broadly construed, my research is in the discipline of Religious Studies, and under that banner I focus on the Philosophy of Religion and Political Theology in the context of Anabaptist Mennonite studies and Continental Philosophy, as well as in their intersection.

Although I don’t find time to post reflections on this blog, I do provide updates on my research and writing on this site from time to time. Below I narrate the development of some of my academic interests, and the writings tab above provides links to my scholarly publications.

In 2013 I completed my undergraduate degree in Philosophy and English, Rhetoric & Professional Writing at the University of Waterloo, where I wrote my undergraduate thesis on the Frankfurt School and Critical Theory. My supervisor was Dr. Winfried Siemerling, who teaches in the English department, and a revised version of the thesis is available as a small booklet called Dialectics Unbound (Punctum Books, 2013) – a document that anticipates some of my current interests, even if it does not reflect their form.

In 2015 I graduated from Conrad Grebel University College with a master’s degree, jointly granted by the University of Waterloo. My thesis project staged an encounter between contemporary postsecular epistemologies and dissenting groups in the seventeenth century Dutch Republic, with a particular focus on the Collegiants and their Mennonite members. My supervisor was social historian Dr. Troy D. Osborne who works in the area of Dutch Mennonite history, and a revised extract of the thesis was published in the September 2017 issue of Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses.

Throughout both degrees I have worked concurrently on a research project on ontology and identity, drawing on texts from the tradition of Continental Philosophy. I pursued some of this project through my coursework, but most of it independently. Most recently this project has culminated in an article called “Identity, Ontology, and the Two,” published in early 2017 in the Macedonian journal Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender, and Culture, edited by Katerina Kolozova.

Presently, my SSHRC-funded dissertation project at McMaster University is on violence and epistemology, particularly in the work of Grace M. Jantzen. In it I hope to engage the works of both pacifist theologians and continental philosophers in order to show not only how the critique of epistemological violence has significant resonances across the naturalized (but artificial) divide between secularity and religion, but also how the key difference between ontological violence and the ontology of violence structures the epistemic position that many thinkers take toward the concept of violence. I see the critique of epistemological violence as a postsecular opportunity, and I explore some of these themes in a long exploratory article called “Critique of Metaphysical Violence,” published online-first in Dialogue in late 2017, and slated for a publication in a print issue sometime in 2018.

Part of my dissertation research on the connection between Mennonite peace church theology and philosophy is summarized in an article called “Mennonite Metaphysics?,” published in the July 2017 issue of the Mennonite Quarterly Review. I have also presented a further extension of this work at the Humanitas conference on Anabaptist Theology and Method in 2017, and most recently my edition of an early example of Mennonite philosophical theology – historian Robert Friedmann’s manuscript Design for Living – has been published by Wipf and Stock.

I am also interested in publishing, and I manage the very small Zwickau Press, which has released three book-length contributions authored by fellow graduate students who also study Mennonite theology, philosophy, and their intersection.

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