Seminar by Associate Professor Jay Johnston, University of Sydney

Everyone is cordially invited to attend a free public seminar given by Associate Professor Jay Johnston, University of Sydney, on Monday 25 April in Orkney College, at 7.30pm. The title of the seminar is Troublesome Objects: Ritual and 'Magical' Material Culture of the Highlands and Islands.

Associate Professor Jay Johnston (University of Sydney) is an interdisciplinary scholar who investigates ritual and its use in identity formation, healing practice and cultural exchange.  She is particularly interested in the role of material objects, animals and the natural environment in these practices.  Trained in religious studies, continental philosophy, gender studies and art history, her research examines concepts of materiality, embodiment, image agency and epistemology. These theoretical concerns are investigated via several research projects strongly grounded in the evaluation of lived experience including ritual practice and cultural exchange in Late Antiquity and in Scottish and Norse cultures pre-1400; complementary and alternative medicine and its historical precedents; and human–animal–environment relations (eco-criticism).

She leads the international research project “The Function of Images in Magical Papyri and Artefacts of Ritual Power from Late Antiquity” funded by the Australian Research Council.  Her publications include Stag and Stone: Religion, Archaeology and Esoteric Aesthetics (forthcoming, Equinox 2017); Religion and the Subtle Body in Asia and the West (Routledge 2013, coedited with G. Samuel); Angels of Desire: Esoteric Bodies, Aesthetics and Ethics (2008) as well as over 20 book chapters and research articles.  In addition Jay continues an active engagement with the visual arts, following on from previous roles in the museum sector as a manager, educator and curator.  She is particularly interested in integrating creative practice and academic research.