I am currently a PHD candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University, and as of Fall 2021 I will be a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto.
I am currently completing a dissertation on ontologies of violence in the works of Jacques Derrida, Mennonite pacifists, and Grace M. Jantzen, and I have just put the finishing touches on a forthcoming special issue of the journal Political Theology that showcases interdisciplinary approaches to Mennonite Political Theology. As well, my forthcoming book with Palgrave Macmillan is titled Postsecular History: Political Theology and the Politics of Time, and it focuses on how influential periodizations of time and history often proceed by a combination of theological and political means.
My research and teaching are broadly situated in the discipline of Religious Studies, within which I take an interdisciplinary and pluralistic approach to Political Theology and the Philosophy of Religion. My work focuses on the problem of violence, religious and political uses of time and history, the normative foundations of social critique, and select topics in Mennonite Studies.
I have taught courses in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University on the discipline of religious studies (Spring 2019 and 2021, syllabus), and on the complex intersections between religion and violence (Fall 2018, syllabus). My main pedagogical approach in the classroom is to combine suspicion and sympathy. In an effort to prepare my students for further work and study I show the benefits of a negative and critical disposition toward scholarly texts and cultural phenomena, and a positive and charitable approach that begins by assuming the best of the source under consideration.
Although I work in several overlapping areas of study the scholarly work that I do is divided into the three projects I mentioned above: my dissertation on ontologies of violence, a book on postsecular history, and a broader project that reconceptualizes Mennonite Studies. My work is also detailed on academia.edu and my department profile. Although I don’t often post writing on this site, I do provide regular updates on my research for those who are interested. I am also available by email at max [.] kennel [at] gmail.com.