Dr Jay Johnston
Phone: +61 2 9351 6840
A20 - John Woolley
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia
Inspired by concepts of the self that challenge the traditional boundaries of the human being Dr Jay Johnston is an interdisciplinary researcher who utilises her training in religious studies, continental philosophy, gender studies and art history to investigate theories of the intermediary, or 'in between', and its role in religious belief and practice. This includes examining the way material culture evidences relations across metaphysical or faith boundaries or is identified as the physical locus of an intermediary agent. In particular she rethinks theories of embodiment, agency, image and materiality and their use in the construction of individual identity and the negotiation of cultural difference.
Previous research has focused on energetic concepts of embodiment (subtle bodies), forms of intermediary subjectivity and diverse spiritual epistemologies. Dr Johnston has also undertaken curatorial and research projects that explore religious aesthetics including viewer experience, the cultivation of perception and the interrelation of aesthetics and ethics.
- ARC Discovery Project: "The production and function of art and design elements in ancient texts and artefacts of ritual power from Late Antiquity in the Mediterranean region." Primary Chief Investigator and holds overall responsibility for this collaborative research project with Iain Gardner, Julia Kindt (Sydney); Erica Hunter (SOAS) and Helen Whitehouse (Oxford). 2012-2014.
- Stag and Stone: Archaeology, Religion and Esoteric Aesthetics. Forthcoming monograph that examines ontological concepts of image agency, materiality and landscape from prehistory to contemporary art. Focuses on Nordic and Celtic cultures and includes examination of museum/curatorial practice in relation to 'religious' material culture.
- Furry Soul: Transpecies Identity and Animal-Human Subcultures. Considered in relation to contemporary animal studies and continental philosophy. Includes collaboration with Dr Fiona Probyn-Rapsey.
- Wellbeing Spirituality and Alternative Therapies. Examines concepts of body, health, agency and spirituality utilised in popular consumer practices. Undertaken in collaboration with Dr Ruth Barcan.
- BAHAR: Body, Health and Religion Research Group, Cardiff University
- European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism
- American Academy of Religion
- Critical Theory of Religion
- Religion and Material Culture
- Religion and Popular Culture
- Religious Aesthetics
- Feminist Philosophy of Religion
- Western Esotericism
- Intersubjectivity Studies
- Ethics and Philosophy of Difference (alterity)
- Subtle Bodies and Intermediary Beings (esp. angels)
- Philosophical Aesthetics (esp. Continental Philosophy)
- Divination systems and practices
- Theoretical Archaeology
- Contemporary Museology
- Theories of the Image
- Mystical traditions
- Gaelic and Scandinavian cultures pre-1400
G. Samuel and J. Johnston (eds.) Religion and the Subtle Body in Asia and the West. Between Mind and Body, London: Routledge (forthcoming March 2013).
J. Johnston and F. Probyn-Rapsey (eds.), Animal Death. Sydney: Sydney UniversityPress, (forthcoming 2013).
J. Johnston, Angels of Desire: Esoteric Bodies, Aesthetics and Ethics. Gnostica Series. London and Oakville: Equinox, 2008.
J. Johnston, "A Deliciously Troubling Duo: Gender and Esotericism" Contemporary Esotericism. Eds. E. Asprem and K. Granholm. London: Equinox (in press, forthcoming February 2013).
J. Johnston, "Subtle Subjects and Ethics: The Subtle Bodies of Western Post-Structuralist and Feminist Philosophy" Religion and the Subtle Body in Asia and the West. Between Mind and Body, London: Routledge (forthcoming March 2013).
J. Johnston, "Vampirism, Lycanthropy and Otherkin" The Occult World. Ed. C. Partridge. London: Routledge (forthcoming 2013).
J. Johnston, "The Body in Occult Thought" The Occult World. Ed. C. Partridge. London: Routledge, (forthcoming 2013)
J. Johnston, "Theosophical Bodies: Colour, Shape and Emotion from Modern Aesthetics to Healing Therapies" Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. Eds. C. Cusack and A. Norman. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012.
J. Johnston, "The Body in Wellbeing Spirituality: Self, Spirit and the Politics of Difference," Religion and the Body. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis. Ed. B. Dahla. Turku, Donner Institute, 2011, 174-185
J. Johnston, "Reading the Body Invisible: Subtle Bodies, Astrology and Energetic Healing" Astrologies. Ed. N. Campion and L. Greene. Lampeter: Sophia Centre Press, 2011, 201-216
J. Johnston, “Hermetic Embodiment: Angels and Intersubjectivity.” The Body Unbound: Philosophical Perspectives on Embodiment, Politics and Religion. Eds. M. T. Mjaaland, S. Fiorgeirsdóttir and O. Sigurdson. Newcastle-upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010, 183-195.
J. Johnston, “Subtle Anatomy: The Bio-metaphysics of Alternative Therapies.” Medicine, Religion and the Body. Eds. E. B. Coleman and K. White. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010, 69-78.
J. Johnston, "Physiognomy of the Invisible: Ritual, Subtle Anatomy and Ethics." Eds. J. Weinhold, and G. Samuel, "The Varieties of Ritual Experience", section of Ritual Dynamics and the Science of Ritual. Volume II — Body, Performance, Agency and Experience." Ed. by Axel Michaels et al. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2010.
J. Johnston, “Cyborgs and Chakras: Intersubjectivity in Spiritual and Scientific Somatechnics.” Religion and Retributive Logic: Essays in Honour of Professor Garry W. Trompf. Eds. C. Cusack and C. Hartney. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2010, 313-322.
R. Barcan and J. Johnston. “Fixing the Self: Therapeutic Logic and Ideas of Wholeness.” Mediating Faiths: Religion and Socio-Cultural Change in the Twenty-First Century. Eds. Michael Bailey et al. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2010.
Peer Review Journal Articles
J. Johnston, "Prolegomena to Considering Drawings of Spirit-Beings in Mandaean, Gnostic and Ancient Magical Texts" ARAM 22 (2011): 573-582
I. Gardner and J. Johnston, “The Liber Bartholomaei on the Ascension: Edition of Bibliothèque Nationale Copte 1321 f. 37,” Vigiliae Christianae 64.1 (2010): 1-13.
I. Gardner and J. Johnston, “The Passover Litany of the Liber Bartholomaei: Edition of Bibliothèque Nationale Copte 1321 f. 40,” Journal of Coptic Studies. 11 (2009): 61-70.
K. McPhillips, P. Mudge and J. Johnston, “Struggle, Self and ‘Other’: Images of Identity and Spirituality in the Work of Three Young Women Artists.” International Journal of Children’s Spirituality 12.3 Dec. (2007): 233-247.
J. Johnston and R. Barcan, “Subtle Transformations: Imagining the Body in Alternative Health Practices.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 9.1 (2006): 25-44.
R. Barcan and J. Johnston, “The Haunting: Cultural Studies, Religion and Alternative Therapies.” Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies. Special Issue The Religious and the Secular 7 (2005): 63-81.
J. Johnston, “The ‘Theosophical Glance’: Fluid Ontologies, Subtle Bodies and Intuitive Vision.” Australian Religious Studies Review 15.2 (2002): 101-117.
Co-Editor 2010–2012 (with Paul Hedges, Winchester University), Australian Religion Studies Review London, Equinox Publishing
J. Johnston and K. McPhillips (eds). Proceedings from the AASR Conference 2008. On-line publication. Sydney: Australian Association for the Study of Religions Publications, 2009. http://escholarship.usyd.edu.au/journals/index.php/AASR/issue/archive
Guest Editor: Australian Religious Studies Review. Volume 15.2, Spring 2002.
— "Lynne Hume: Portals: Opening Doorways to Other Realities Through the Senses." The Asia-Pacific Journal of Anthropology 10.1 (2009): 60.
— "Nora M. Heimann: Joan of Arc in French Art and Culture (1700-1855): Satire to Sanctity." Journal of Religious History 32.1 (2008): 128-129.
— "Adam Possamai: In Search of New Age Spiritualities." Journal of Religious History 32.1 (2008): 139-40.
Selected Exhibition Catalogue Essays, General Articles and Exhibition Reviews
— “Hot Off the Press: Australia’s Best Raise the Stakes,” magazine article, COFA Magazine 13, winter (2005): 12-13.
— “Landscrapping and Journeys Not [yet] Taken. Profile: Ian Howard,” magazine article, COFA Magazine 13, winter (2005): 14-15.
— "Through a Glass: Vibrantly (A Delicate Disco)" catalogue essay Walters and Williams. Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest. 2002.
— "Technologies of Protection: Sights of Healing. The Work of Lyndall Phelps." catalogue essay Fragile. Lyndall Phelps. Alsager Gallery, The Manchester Metropolitan University, 2001.
— "Ultima - Sue Saxon" exhibition review Eyeline 27, Autumn/Winter: 34. 1995.
— Localities of Desire catalogue biographies, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 1994, 48-69.
— "God’s Scribble, Abstract Photographs: Joe Filshie" exhibition review Photofile, 39 (1993): 48.
— "Westies and Culture: The Great Divide is in Your Mind" essay WEST, 3.1 (1991): 19-21.