Job title: Chancellor's Fellow & Lecturer

Role: Director of Research, History of Art

Tel: +44 (0) 131 650 7112

Email: halle.o'

Office address: Room 0.49, Higgitt Gallery, Hunter Building

Contact time: Monday, 4pm - 5pm

Research outputs: Dr Halle O'Neal on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Halle O’Neal is a specialist in Japanese Buddhist art. Before joining ECA as a Chancellor’s Fellow in 2014, she worked as a Mellon Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University. She completed her PhD in the Kress Department of Art History at the University of Kansas and held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University. She is also an Associate in Research at Harvard University, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies.

Her monograph, Word Embodied: The Jeweled Pagoda Mandalas in Japanese Buddhist Art, was published with Harvard University Press in 2018. It won the CAA Millard Meiss Publication Fund and the JAHF First Book Subvention Prize. She has also published articles in The Art Bulletin, Artibus Asiae, and the Journal of Oriental Studies. Her work explores areas of word and image, relics and reliquaries, invisibility in visual and material culture, reuse and recycling, performativity, and the spectacular visualizations of embodiment. 

From 2017-2019, she is working on a new project on medieval reuse and recycling in Japanese Buddhist visual and material culture with the support of a grant from the British Academy. A forthcoming article in Artibus Asiae explores this topic from the angle of letter sutras: "Inscribing Grief and Salvation: Embodiment and Medieval Reuse and Recycling in Buddhist Palimpsests" (2019). 

Her recent and upcoming invited talks include those at Harvard Art Museum; Stanford University; SOAS; Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures; Durham University; and Manchester University.

O'Neal is the convenor of the History of Art Research Workshop and co-convenor of the Asian Religions Network at the University of Edinburgh. She is also Director of Research for History of Art.

  • Blood, bones, bodies: Buddhist relics in Asia (4th year)
  • Visions of the Buddha: Religious art in medieval Japan (3rd year)
  • Lectures for History of Art 1 (1st year)
  • Lectures for Art History: Texts, Objects, Institutions (3rd year)
  • Lectures for Global Middle Ages core course (MSc)

Research Interests

  • Japanese Buddhist art
  • Word and image studies 
  • Relics and reliquaries
  • Performativity
  • Death commemorations in visual and material culture
  • Palimpsests
  • Digital Humanities

Current PhD students

PhD Supervision Topics

  • Japanese Buddhist art
  • Buddhist art
  • Relics and reliquaries
  • Word and image studies