Headshot of historian Emily Hawk

Emily Hawk, Ph.D.

20th Century U.S. Cultural Historian

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Department of African American Studies

Princeton University



Emily Hawk, Ph.D., is a twentieth century United States cultural historian and an incoming Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University

Her current research, "Movements of Modern Dance: Black Choreography and Civic Education, 1965-1976," examines how a cohort of Black choreographers intervened in discourse on race, cultural identity, and civic engagement by performing beyond conventional theatrical settings and engaging diverse national audiences.

Hawk's article "Civic Education and Artistic Innovation on New York City’s Dancemobile, 1967-88" is in press with the Journal of Urban History. Her most recent publication is “The Choreographer as Intellectual: Alvin Ailey’s Ideas about Black Modern Dance” in the Journal of American Culture. She is a contributor to the blogs of the Gotham Center for New York City History and the Society for U.S. Intellectual History and has written book reviews for The Nation and History Today

Hawk's research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Smithsonian Institution, the Rockefeller Archives, the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, New York State Archives, Emory University, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library. It has also earned accolades from the Dance Studies Association (Selma Jeanne Cohen Award), Popular Cultural Association (William M. Jones Award), and Western Association of Women Historians (Perry Graduate Poster Prize).

Hawk is committed to teaching and student mentorship, grounded by a love for the liberal arts. A 2021 finalist for Columbia's Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching and a Faculty Diversity Fellow, Hawk serves as an advisor to rural college applicants through the Fair Opportunity Project (2022-present) and is a former undergraduate academic advisor through Columbia's Center for American Studies (2019-2022).

Hawk holds a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Columbia University. She previosuly earned an M.A. with distinction in dance history at the University of Roehampton and a B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in dance and history from Franklin & Marshall College. She lives in New York City with her husband Mark Harmon-Vaught, a higher education administrator.


Accumulation: A Conference on Dance History and the Social Sciences
December 8, 2023
Hosts: Emily Hawk & Juliana DeVaan

Recent & Upcoming Presentations

Preserving Local Dance Histories and Cultures

Panel discussion with Candace Thompson-Zachery, Pia Agrawal, and Emily Hawk

Snug Harbor Dance Festival 2023
September 24, 2023, 12:30pm

Conference organized by Emily Hawk
and Juliana DeVaan

Sponsored by the Columbia University Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy

December 8, 2023

The Mind is a Muscle: Dance as an Approach to History 

Methodological round table featuring Glory M. Liu, Julie Malnig, Anne Searcy, Siobhan Burke, Juliana DeVaan & Emily Hawk

Organization of American Historians
Annual Conference
April 11-14, 2024

Recent Work

Novel Ideas: Black Intellectual History and The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

Society for U.S. Intellectual History Blog

April 2022

The Choreographer as Intellectual: Alvin Ailey’s Ideas about Black Modern Dance

Journal of American Culture 

September 2021