Jessica Ray Herzogenrath, PhD (Dr. H), teaches, researches and writes on American history, culture, performance, and dance.
In 2002, she completed a BA in History from Northwestern University and promptly left the Windy City for warmer climes. After several years performing, choreographing, and teaching dance in and around Houston, Texas, Dr. H decided to further develop her interests, if not talents, in thinking and writing about dance through graduate study. First, she earned an MA in American Dance Studies from the Dance Department at Florida State University in 2009 under the tutelage of Tricia Young, Sally Sommer, and Jennifer Atkins. Following a semester in NYC interning at the Baryshnikov Arts Center and completion of her thesis, Dr. H returned to Texas to begin doctoral work in history at Texas A&M University. With the guidance of Julia Blackwelder, Judith Hamera, Harold Livesay, and Carlos Blanton, she successfully defended her dissertation, Thinking American, Working American, Playing American: Folk Dance in Chicago, 1890-1940, in 2014. Along the way Dr. H has given several conference presentations, earned a number of research grants, and spent time at the Texas A&M University branch campus at Qatar.
Most recently, Dr. H has been named the 2018-2019 John S. Aubrey Fellow by the Newberry Library (Chicago) for her proposed project: “The Doyenne of Chicago Dance: Ann Barzel as Champion, Collector, and Critic.” She also continues work on her book manuscript on dance in early-twentieth-century Chicago, writes for Dance Source Houston, and will soon begin the National Arts Strategies Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy through the University of Pennsylvania.
Currently she works as a Coordinator of Research and Proposal Development in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, where she has proudly taught in both the dance and history departments.