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Jen Atkins

Published April 20, 2015


Associate Professor

School of Dance
Curriculum Vitae (CV)


Areas of Responsibility

Undergraduate & Graduate Teaching
American Dance Studies Advisor

Jen Atkins (she/hers) teaches courses in dance history, especially related to dance in the Americas and dance in popular culture. Jen’s classes focus on examining persistent historical and aesthetic debates through the lens of human motion in order to critically analyze identity, systems of power, and how the past and present converse with each other. Students are key to this endeavor–curiosity and open-mindedness are the only prerequisites for taking Jen’s classes, which revolve around lively discussions and collaborative learning. Outside of the classroom, Jen works closely with PoP Moves: An International Research Group for Popular Dance and Performance and is also very involved with the American Culture Association (as co-chair of the Dance & Culture Area, as chair of the Cawelti Textbook committee, and as a Board member). Jen’s first book, Carnival Balls in New Orleans: The Secret Side of Mardi Gras, 1870-1920 (LSU Press, 2017) earned the Jules and Frances Landry Award for most outstanding achievement in the field of southern studies. Jen often publishes about social dance in her hometown of New Orleans, but her research also focuses on popular culture, as well as pedagogical innovations. She is currently a Fulbright Roving Scholar in American Studies and will be based in Oslo, Norway for the 2022-23 academic year.


BA in Dance and English, Huntingdon College

MA in American Dance Studies, FSU

PhD in History, FSU

Select Scholarly & Creative Works

Fulbright Roving Scholar in American Studies (Norway), 2022-23

Jules and Frances Landry Award, 2018

New Orleans Carnival Balls: The Secret Side of Mardi Gras, 1870-1920 (LSU Press, 2017)

Perspectives on American Dance: The Twentieth Century (University Press of FL, 2018), Co-Edited with Sally Sommer and Tricia Young.

Perspectives on American Dance: The New Millennium (University Press of FL, 2018), Co-Edited with Sally Sommer and Tricia Young.

Teaching Areas

Dance History, GFS.

Research Areas

American Dance, Dance in Popular Culture, Dance History Pedagogy

Additional Scholarly/Creative Works, Publications & Awards

Forthcoming edited textbook on Dance in US Popular Culture (Routledge)

Forthcoming article, “The New Normal: Activist Handmaids and Cosplay Choreographies in Trump’s America,” in the European Journal of American Culture

Collaborative conversation with Millicent Johnnie, “Finding New Orleans in Zululand,” in Southern Cultures 25:4 Here/Away (Winter 2019)

“From the Bamboula to the Baby Dolls: Improvisation, Agency, and African-American Dancing in New Orleans,” in Walking Raddy: The Baby Dolls of New Orleans, edited by Kim Vaz-Deville (University Press of Mississippi, 2018).

Review of New Orleans Carnival Krewes: The History Spirit and Secrets of Mardi Gras. By Rosary O’Neill. (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2014) in Louisiana History, Spring 2016, 231-233.

“‘Using the Bow and the Smile’: New Orleans Mardi Gras Balls, Grand Marches, and Krewe Court Femininity, 1870-1920,” Louisiana History 54:1 (2013): 5-46.

“Class Acts and Daredevils: Black Masculinity in Jazz Funeral Dancing,” Journal of American Culture 35:2 (2012): 166-180.

“Issues of Integration in European and Spanish Dance Curricula and in American Dance Curricula,” The International Journal of Learning 16:8 (2009): 405-420. Co-authored with Tricia Young, N. M. Mestre, C. G. Morte, & P. Torres.

“La Meri,” in Susan Ware (Ed.), Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, Completing the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004), 363-364. Co-authored with D. Milovanovic.

University Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2012-2013