About

kennel, mHeadshot

I am currently a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, where I am working on a project called “Critique of Conspiracism” under the supervision of Pamela Klassen.

I am also teaching a Fall 2021 course called “Religion and Conspiracy Theories” in the University of Waterloo’s Arts First program. In May 2021 I defended my dissertation in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University, where I also work occasionally as a sessional instructor (most recently in Spring 2021).

My research and teaching are broadly situated in the discipline of Religious Studies, within which I take an interdisciplinary and pluralistic approach to topics in Political Theology and the Philosophy of Religion. My work focuses on ethical responses to violence, religious and political uses of time and history, the normative foundations of social critique, select topics in Mennonite Studies, and the problem of conspiratorial thinking.

My work is divided into four interrelated projects:

  1. My dissertation “Ontologies of Violence” traces the problem of violence through the works of Jacques Derrida, Mennonite pacifists, and feminist philosopher of religion Grace M. Jantzen. It is currently being reworked and revised for publication.
  2. My book Postsecular History approaches problems in political theology and the politics of time, and is forthcoming in late 2021 with Palgrave Macmillan.
  3. I have also undertaken a broader project that reconceptualizes Mennonite Studies in interdisciplinary terms, which was most recently featured in my guest-edited special issue of the journal Political Theology in May 2021.
  4. I am currently working on a postdoctoral book project called Critique of Conspiracism that brings my critical work on violence and history to bear on conspiratorial thinking.

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 the dispositions of 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. 

Some of my work remains on academia.edu, and my CV below provides a comprehensive picture of my research trajectory.