Boyda Johnstone

Picture of Boyda Johnstone

Assistant Professor


Office: N-782C

Office Hours:

Phone: +1 (212) 776-6387

Boyda Johnstone joined the BMCC faculty in 2018 after having spent two years as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Fordham University, where she also completed her PhD in medieval literature in 2017. Before moving to the New York area in 2010 for doctoral work, she completed a BA and an MA in English at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.


Boyda’s publications deal with medieval and early modern drama, medieval manuscript illustrations, and fifteenth-century dream visions. For years she wrote for the Canadian feminist academic blog Hook & Eye, focusing on strategies for productivity that honor one’s emotional and mental health. She is an experienced and dedicated composition & rhetoric and early period literature instructor and is passionate about digital media, social justice, and intersectional feminist studies. As a teacher, she challenges students to truly internalize and enact the texts we read and study together; literature is a living phenomenon that can change us in the present, and should be approached with an active, transformative spirit that is open to risk-taking and new directions. She also challenges students to become activists who apply what is gained in the classroom to the world outside.


Fordham University. Ph.D. in English Literature, 2017

University of Calgary. Master of Arts in English, 2010

University of Calgary. Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in English, 2008

Courses Taught

ENG 101 (English Composition)

Research and Projects

Boyda is currently developing a book project, stemming from her dissertation, that examines the swell of interest and literary production around dreams and dream interpretation in the late Middle Ages. This project argues that dreams served a pseudo-spiritual means of yielding control over individual destinies and questioning social realities during a time of political crisis and rising individualism.


Academic Publications

“Possessed by Dreams: Dream Interpretation Manuals in Late Medieval England.” Under contract with Predicting the Past: Worldwide Medieval Dream Interpretation, ed. Valerio Cappozzo. Brepols Publishers.

“‘Far semed her hart from obeysaunce’: Strategies of Resistance in The Isle of Ladies.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 41 (forthcoming).

The Darker Side of The Second Shepherds’ Play: Teaching Medieval Drama with Film.” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teachingvol. 26 issue 1 (2019), pp. 29-36.

“Vitreous Visions: Stained Glass and Affective Engagement in John Lydgate’s Temple of Glass.” New Medieval Literatures 17 (2017): 175-200.

“Reading Images, Drawing Texts: Performing The Abbey of the Holy Ghost in British Library Stowe 39,” in Editing, Performance, Texts: New Practices in Medieval and Early Modern English Drama, ed. Jacqueline Jenkins and Julie Sanders (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014), 27-48.

“‘The Pen lookes to be canoniz’d’: John Newdigate III, Author and Scribe,” co-authored with Kirsten Inglis, Early Theatre 14.2 (2011): 27-61.

Selected Popular Publications

Enlivening Old Texts through Performance-Based Learning.” Blog for the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship (CELTS) at BMCC.

“I Wanted it to be a Comedy”: on The Saintliness of Margery Kempe. Co-written with Clare H. Davidson for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

“Your Emotional Well-Being on the Market.” Advice column for academic job market seekers published with Vitae, a subsidiary of The Chronicle of Higher Education. 

“Who Gets a Voice on Twitter?” Guest blog published with In the Medieval Middle, 2014.

Honors, Awards and Affiliations

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Award

Senior Teaching Fellowship (Fordham University)

Society for Feminist Medieval Scholarship (SMFS)

New Chaucer Society (NCS)

Additional Information