About Jane Desmond
Jane Desmond, PhD, is a professor of anthropology at the University Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a former modern dancer and choreographer who has worked in film, onstage, and through academic publications to help build the fields of performance studies and dance studies. As a performer she freelanced in New York City with Wendy Perron, Ed Di Lello, and Bonnie Scheibman and served on the full-time faculties of dance at Cornell University and Duke University, where she was an artist-in-residence for a decade before pursuing a PhD in American studies at Yale. She is the author or editor of five scholarly books, including the influential edited collections Meaning in Motion: New Cultural Studies of Dance and Dancing Desires: Choreographing Sexualities on and off the Stage, each of which was one of the first books to engage with, respectively, the intersections between cultural studies and sexuality studies and dance. Desmond was the movement designer for Volker Schlöndorff’s film The Handmaid’s Tale and the coproducer of the award-winning PBS documentary Chuck Davis: Dancing through West Africa. She currently works on bodily display and social identity in dance, tourism, daily life, and across the species line. A recent dance article that focuses on dance and precarity was published in Dance Research Journal in summer 2019. Desmond has served on the editorial and advisory boards of Dance Chronicle, Dance Research Journal, the Congress on Research in Dance, and the Society of Dance History Scholars. In addition to her PhD, she holds an MFA in dance from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied under Bessie Schönberg. For more information, see her faculty web page.