Ontologies of Violence

Deconstruction, Pacifism, and Displacement


Ontologies of Violence provides a new paradigm for understanding the concept of violence through comparative interpretations of French philosopher Jacques Derrida, philosophical theologians in the Mennonite pacifist tradition, and Grace M. Jantzen’s feminist philosophy of religion. By drawing out and challenging the remarkably similar priorities shared by its three sources, and by challenging the assumption that differences necessarily lead to displacement, Ontologies of Violence provides a critical theory of violence by treating it as a diagnostic concept that implies the violation of value-laden boundaries.

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Maxwell Kennel, Ph.D. (2021), McMaster University, is a Senior Research Associate in the Centre for Social Accountability at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine University. He is the author of Postsecular History: Political Theology and the Politics of Time (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022).

Introduction: What Is Violence?
 1 Political Theology
 2 Ontological Violence
 3 Plan of the Work
 4 Approaches to Violence

1 Jacques Derrida’s Original Violence
 1 The Early Derrida
 2 Violence in “Violence and Metaphysics”
  2.1 The Violence of Light
  2.2 Phenomenology, Ontology, Metaphysics
  2.3 Difference and Eschatology
 3 Original Violence
 4 Reading “Violence and Metaphysics” with Derrida’s “Préjuges” and “Force of Law”
  4.1 “Before the Law (Préjuges)” (1982)
  4.2 “Force of Law” (1989)
 5 Situating Violence in Derrida

2 Mennonite Pacifist Epistemology and Ontological Peace
 1 Radical Reformation
 2 Radical Orthodoxy
 3 Mennonites, Milbank, and Derrida
 4 The Philosophical Turn in Mennonite Pacifism
 5 Radical Reformation Responses
 6 Chris K. Huebner’s Precarious Peace
 7 Excursus on Yoder’s Patience as Method and Pacifist Epistemology
 8 Peter C. Blum’s Impossible Peace
 9 Pacifist Epistemology Revisited
 10 Mennonite Pacifist Epistemology and Derrida’s Original Violence

3 Grace Jantzen’ Critique of Violent Displacement
 1 What Is Violence?
 2 Grace Jantzen
 3 Derrida, Jantzen, and Mennonite Pacifist Epistemology
 4 The Problem of Metanarratives
 5 Jantzen, the Mennonites, and Derrida
 6 Violence in Death and the Displacement of Beauty
 7 Violence and Displacement
 8 Violence, History, and Master Narratives
 9 Foundations of Violence
 10 Violence to Eternity
 11 A Place of Springs
 12 Violence and History

Conclusion: Violence as the Violation of Value-Laden Boundaries
 1 Derrida’s Original Violence
 2 Mennonite Pacifist Epistemology
 3 The Problem of Displacement
 4 Violence Is the Violation of Value-Laden Boundaries
 5 Violent Intersections
 6 Social Accountability, Violence, and Public Health

The book is relevant to scholars and graduate students interested in ontologies and epistemologies of violence within and beyond French philosophy and deconstruction, philosophical theologies in the Mennonite pacifist tradition, and Grace Jantzen’s feminist philosophy of religion.
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