More about Jon
Jon directs the Arts and Humanities Collaborative at Albertus Magnus College, a Catholic liberal arts college in New Haven, CT. He also teaches in the Department of Philosophy and Religion and serves as a Co-Director of the College’s Honors Program. In the summers, he teaches in the Summer@Brown Pre-College Program at Brown University. He is a member of the Advisory Board for Zeal: A Journal for the Liberal Arts.
His research focuses on the philosophy of personalism (for more about which, see the entry by Thomas D. Williams here) and he has recently published on Jacques Maritain’s philosophy of education. Previously he has written on the work of Charles Taylor, Richard Rorty, Carl Schmitt, Hans Blumenberg, and Emmanuel Mounier. Much of this is available on this site under Writing. He has a special interest in the history and philosophy of the Catholic Worker Movement, and often teaches and writes on themes in the Catholic intellectual tradition.
Originally from Schenectady, New York, Jon attended Sarah Lawrence College, earning a BA in the Liberal Arts and completing a year abroad at Wadham College, Oxford University. He went on to earn an MA in Religious Studies (with honours) at McGill University in Montreal, QC, submitting a thesis on the work of Charles Taylor and Richard Rorty. That work, “After Rationalism,” focused on Taylor’s and Rorty’s differing modes of critique of modern epistemology, and the implications of that difference for their respective understandings of ethics and the proper place of religion in public life.
After serving for three years as Youth Minister and Director of Faith Formation at St. Francis de Sales Parish (now Christ Our Light Catholic Church) in Loudonville, NY, and teaching 9th and 10th grade theology at his high school alma mater, Notre Dame — Bishop Gibbons School in Schenectady, NY, Jon moved to Belgium to pursue further studies in philosophy at the Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte (Higher Institute of Philosophy) at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. There he earned two degrees, both summa cum laude: a BA, with a thesis on Charles Taylor’s view of the transcendence / immanence distinction in his 2007 book, A Secular Age, and an MA, with a thesis on the published correspondence between Carl Schmitt and Hans Blumenberg. That latter work, “Secularization and Political Myth,” examined Schmitt’s and Blumenberg’s divergent understandings of the notion of secularization (i.e., what it means for something to be “secularized”) and their differing assessments of the appropriate role of myth — specifically, political myths — in a secularized world.
In 2010, Jon began work on a PhD in Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Brown University in Providence, RI, in the “Religion and Critical Thought” track. During his six years at Brown, he frequently served as a teaching assistant, worked for five years in Brown’s Writing Center, and worked for four years as a Fellowship Advisor in Brown’s Fellowship Office, with a primary responsibility for supporting student applicants for Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships. He also founded and operated a small academic editing firm, Good Letters, LLC, from 2012–2018, working primarily with authors from India and the Netherlands. For his work as a teaching assistant, Jon was awarded Brown’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015.
He completed his studies at Brown in 2016 with the submission of his dissertation, “The Politics of Personalism.” In that work, he endeavors to trace the intellectual history of personalism as a distinctive current in modern thought, ranging from Friedrich Schleiermacher to the present, with particular focus on the work of Jacques Maritain and Emmanuel Mounier (in France), Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, founders of the Catholic Worker Movement (in the US), Charles Taylor, Paul Ricoeur, and Pope Francis.
Upon graduation, Jon was for one year a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Theology Department at Fordham University in New York City, offering courses including “Church in Controversy” and “Faith and Critical Reason.” In 2017, he moved to New Haven, CT and took a position as Director of Faith Formation at SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, CT, where he served until 2021, overseeing a program for around 550 children and teens and supporting the catechist team in their ongoing formation. At this same time, from 2017–2019, Jon served as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Religious Studies at Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT, offering courses including “Religion and the Critical Mind” and “Catholic Intellectual Tradition.” In fall of 2019, he started as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Albertus Magnus College. He began his work as Director of the Arts and Humanities Collaborative in summer of 2022.
Amidst his work at Albertus, Jon continues his research on the philosophy of personalism, most recently expressed in an article published in The Journal of Catholic Higher Education, “Scattering the Stars: Personalist Pedagogy and Catholic Higher Education,” on the philosophy of education of Jacques Maritain.
Jon enjoys travel, photography, motorcycling, playing the guitar, documentaries by Adam Curtis, and books, especially by Iris Murdoch, J.M. Coetzee, Neil Gaiman, Annie Dillard, David Bentley Hart, Byung-Chul Han, and Iain McGilchrist. He lives in the Newhallville neighborhood of New Haven, CT.