Jason Winslade, PhD, is a performance studies, media and religion scholar who, after over two decades of teaching at the university level, is now exploring a life beyond academia. Jason was initially introduced to Paganism at one of the most Catholic places on earth, the University of Notre Dame, where he went to college and cultivated his love for theatre, literature, and Irish music.
In graduate school, Jason researched and studied contemporary Native American theatre and anthropology at the University of Michigan, and later, performance studies at Northwestern University, where his dissertation explored initiation rituals in western hermeticism, occultism and Paganism. At the same time, Jason got involved in the Pagan scene in Chicago, receiving initiations in magickal groups with lineages directly connected to both Gerald Gardner and the Golden Dawn.
Just out of grad school, in the late 90s, Jason combined his academic and magickal pursuits with his lifelong love for fantasy, scifi, horror and all things geeky. He was one of the first scholars to publish academically on the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, having appeared in the first issue of Slayage: The International Journal of Buffy Studies, a peer-reviewed online academic journal, in 1999. He went on to publish several other Buffy-related essays in the books Buffy in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching with the Vampire Slayer, and Joss Whedon and Religion: Essays on an Angry Atheist’s Explorations of the Sacred.
He also published essays in various academic journals and anthologies, addressing occult-related properties, such as The X-Files, the reality show Mad Mad House, and notably Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic comic series in Supernatural Youth: The Rise of the Teen Hero in Literature and Popular Culture, and Alan Moore’s comic Promethea in Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels.
He continued his ethnographic work on Pagan communities in Chicago and at festivals, presenting at international conferences and publishing on drumming and festivals in the Brill Handbook of Contemporary Paganism. During this time he taught popular seminars at DePaul University on comic books, superheroes, Burning Man and festival culture, the shows of Joss Whedon, including a course primarily on Buffy, and a course on occultism, politics and popular culture, which he offered for over a decade before leaving academia.
Jason is also a lifelong performer, musician, percussionist, and event producer. In 2015, he founded a community event in Chicago called Tribal Stomp, and has consistently produced events since then featuring drumming, transnational, folkloric and fusion dance, and live music. In 2021, Tribal Stomp Chicago will be rebranding as Primal Stomp Chicago.
Along with author and fellow Patheos blogger Lilith Dorsey, Jason is currently the co-host of the bi-monthly YouTube program discussing occultism and popular media, The Pop Occulture Show.