Professor Lynda Johnston

Professor, Geography

Qualifications: BA Otago, MSocSci, PhD Waikato

About Me

About me

I have been employed as a human geography lecturer at the University of Waikato since 2001, and prior to this I was a lecturer at Edinburgh University.

My overall research interests centre on the challenges and spatial complexities of inequality. Specifically, my work draws attention to the exclusionary ways in which various forms of marginalisation and discrimination – such as sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and racism – shape people’s places and spaces. I have a commitment to empirical research that is informed by current theoretical debates about society, space and tourism encounters. I have an international research focus on the embodied geographies of genders and sexualities.

Administrative and General Contributions within the University

  • Elected Professor to Academic Board, 2015 - 2017
  • FASS Māori Advancement Plan Group Coordinator, 2016 - continuing
  • Member, Rainbow Alliance Group, 2016 - continuing
  • Co-Chair, Women in Leadership Day, 2014 – 2016
  • Co-ordinator, Waikato Women Professor Group, 2012 – continuing
  • Member, Waikato Gender Research Network, 2012 - continuing
  • Chairperson of Geography, Tourism and Environmental Planning Department, 1 January 2007 – 12 March 2010
  • Associate Dean Graduate and Postgraduate, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, 2004 – 2006

External Professional Contributions

  • Panelist, Marsden Fast Start Social Sciences  2017
  • Panelist, James Cook Fellowship Social Sciences 2017
  • Chair, Gender and Geography Commission, International Geographical Union, 2016 - 2020
  • President, New Zealand Geographical Society, 2018 - 2020
  • Vice-President, New Zealand Geographical Society, 2016-2018
  • Editor, Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 2011 to 2016
  • Editorial Board Member, Gender, Place and Culture, 2008-continuing
  • Editorial Board Member, Social and Cultural Geography, 2009-continuing
  • Editorial Board Member, Emotion, Space and Society, 2014 -continuing
  • Founding Editor, Editorial Board Collective, Te Kura Kete Aronui, 2005 – continuing
  • Member, IGU Commission on Gender and Geography Steering Committee, August 2012 – August 2016
  • Member, New Zealand Geographical Society, 1993 – continuing
  • Chairperson, Hamilton Pride Incorporated, 2008 – 2014

Research Interests and Expertise

My research interests include feminism and poststructuralism, gender, sexuality, embodiment, tourism and leisure, subjectivities, methodologies, constructions of geographical knowledge, and cultures of nature. I am interested in the relationship between bodies and (‘real’ and discursive) spaces. I concentrate on the formation of subjectivities - gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity and class - and the ways in which these are mutually constituted in and by different spaces (e.g. home, weddings, gay pride parades and festivals, beaches, Internet, adventure ‘nature’ spaces). I use critical social theories, such as feminist, poststructuralist, queer, postmodernist, and postcolonialist theories. I have published work which adds to social, cultural, emotional, feminist and queer geography, tourism knowledge and research methodologies.

Research projects include: Hamilton Pride: spaces of sameness and difference; The haptic geographies of drag queens; Queer activism; Food, place and identity for migrant women in Hamilton; Queering Queenstown: gay ski week.


I have expertise in critical and poststructuralist approaches, utilising mostly qualitative research methodologies, including: semi-structured/unstructured interview design, implementation, and analysis; mixed method (qualitative/quantitative) survey design and implementation; textual and discourse analysis of texts and media; participant observation and auto-ethnographic approaches.

'Favourite' Theorist(s)

Elizabeth Grosz, Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Elspeth Probyn, Sara Ahmed, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Recent Publications

  • Basnet, S., Johnston, L., & Longhurst, R. (2018). Embodying ‘accidental ethnography’: staying overnight with former Bhutanese refugees in Aotearoa New Zealand. Social and Cultural Geography, -online, 1-16. doi:10.1080/14649365.2018.1480056

  • Johnston, L. (2018). Intersectional feminist and queer geographies: a view from ‘down-under'. Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 25(4), 554-564. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2018.1460329

  • Johnston, L. (2018). Transforming gender, sex, place, and space geographies of gender variance (1st ed.). Routledge.

  • Modlik, M., & Johnston, L. (2017). Huhu grubs, bull semen shots and koki: Visceral geographies of regional food festivals in Aotearoa. New Zealand Geographer, 73(1), 25-34. doi:10.1111/nzg.12148

Find more research publications by Lynda Johnston

Research Supervised

Recent and current PhD supervision

  • Place-based experiences and feelings of (not)belonging among Bhutanese women and girls living in New Zealand
  • Women sex workers and sport
  • Coming home through football: A geographic exploration of football fandom
  • Lesbians having children
  • Ngā wāhine o Ngāti Kuri and nature conservation in Te Hiku o Te Ika
  • Muslim women in Waikato
  • Travel writing, self and other: Finding reciprocal space
  • Love and Romance in Online Gaming Spaces
  • Reconfiguring Māori Maternities: A Mana Wahine Perspective on Childbirth
  • Performative Methodologies: Geographies of Emotion and Affect in Digital Storytelling Workshops
  • C'Mon Feel the Noise: Factors Shaping Socio-Spatial Understandings and Emotional Experiences of Aurality

Recent and current Masters and Postgraduate supervision

  • Genders unseen: Geographies of trans embodiment on campus
  • Home is where the heart is broken?
  • The terrains of Māori tourism
  • Sensuous geographies of food festivals
  • Re-Imaging the ‘Kiwi Bloke’: Low places and anxious spaces in Aotearoa, New Zealand
  • Tuning in and coming out: Lesbian geographies of music

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Johnston, Prof Lynda 9172 lyndaj I.2.07 Geography Programme

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