Ph.D. in Culture and Performance
Julie Gaynes researches healing relationships between human and non-human persons/spirits in the Solor Archipelago of East Indonesia. She specifically studies how ancestral healing knowledges bring new notions of “the possible” to techno-scientific schemas confined by colonial conceptions of self, society, and reality. On the island of Lembata, she works alongside Sahabat Penyu Loang, a local non-profit geared towards increasing environmental, cultural, and academic literacy in times of rapid change. Her training in religious studies, creative writing, dance-acrobatics, and visual art prompts her to explore co-authored mixed-media storytelling as a means for transitioning local/geographically-situated knowledge systems across time and space. Her Masters project, an artisan book featuring curated and translated writings from her oral history collaboration with women healers on the island of Lembata, proposes means of cultural curation which appeal to empathy rather than logic. Off campus, Julie can be found immersing herself in LA’s acro-yoga community, tinkering with pop-up design and paper craft, volunteering at Santa Monica’s Josephine Press, or scouting storytelling events around the city.