Hawk, Emily

Field: United States; Advisor: Blake; Year: 2017

Emily Hawk is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History. Her dissertation is “Movements of Modern Dance: Black Choreography and Political Education, 1965-1976.” It examines how a cohort of Black modern dance artists intervened in discussions on race, cultural identity, and civic engagement by performing beyond conventional theatrical settings and engaging a diverse national audience with their work.

Hawk’s dissertation research has been supported by fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution, the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, the New York State Archives, and the Gerald Ford Presidential Library. She has earned awards from the Dance Studies Association, Popular Culture Association, and Western Association of Women Historians.

She welcomes the opportunity to speak with prospective Columbia University doctoral applicants and invites anyone interested in her work to visit www.emilyhawk.org.


Her first scholarly publication is “The Choreographer as Intellectual: Alvin Ailey’s Ideas about Black Modern Dance” in the Journal of American Culture (September 2021)

Hawk has contributed to blogs by the Gotham Center for New York City History and the Society for U.S. Intellectual History and has been interviewed for the United Kingdom’s History of Education Society podcast.


Prior to Columbia, Hawk earned a B.A., summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Franklin & Marshall College in Dance and History and an M.A. with Distinction from the University of Roehampton in Dance History.


Hawk serves as rapporteur for the Studies in Dance University Seminar and as a faculty development and diversity fellow in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Arts & Sciences. She also volunteers as a mentor to college applicants who share her rural background through the Fair Opportunity Project. 

A participant in the Teaching Development Program and former academic advisor for the Center for American Studies, Hawk was named a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2021. She has served as a teaching assistant for courses in United States History and American Studies.