Atkins, a dance historian, will travel throughout Norway, visiting secondary schools throughout the country to deliver workshops to high school students and teachers. She has developed seven student workshops and four teacher workshops focused on American culture, history and dance.
“We are incredibly proud to have Dr. Atkins representing the FSU’s College of Fine Arts and the School of Dance as she engages in this international endeavor,” said James Frazier, Dean of the College of Fine Arts. “It is an exciting opportunity for her to both share her expertise and to learn through intercultural engagement.”
Atkins’ work explores how we engage with pop culture and fuses dance studies with American history, culture and politics, as well as popular culture. This three-pronged approach is what guides her teaching and research.
“Dance is a lens through which students can consider real world problems while reflecting on how we shape and express personal and collective values, beliefs and identities.” said Atkins, “I hope my approach will provide an opening for the students themselves to be experts, so we can create information together.
Atkins believes that dance studies is an excellent creative tool in the classroom, and her teaching methods encourage students to share their own experiences and knowledge to contribute to the larger conversation.
At FSU, Atkins has been involved in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, known as UROP. She explains that work with UROP students was crucial to developing this project, as well as an upcoming textbook. The group researched and discussed pop culture, from Marvel superheroes to Beyoncé music videos, and reflected upon their significance and meaning in American society.
“I had this amazing group of undergraduate students from different majors, and I have really enjoyed collaborating with them,” said Atkins. “It doesn’t make sense to create workshops and textbooks on popular culture for students, without working with students.”
She hopes to carry over this spirit of student-focused instruction and collaboration to her work in Norway.
Atkins departs for Norway on August 1 and will begin teaching in September. She will return to Tallahassee for the Fall 2023 semester.
“I’m excited for this opportunity to grow as a professional, to make new connections and meet new friends and new students,” said Atkins. “Hopefully I will return a better teacher than when I left.”
You can follow Atkins’ journey as a roving scholar on Instagram on her personal blog account, @roving_jen.
Atkins’ upcoming textbook uses dance in US popular culture to motivate readers in becoming more aware of their own complex identities and in taking a more active role in contemporary human rights activism.
Learn more about FSU’s School of Dance at dance.fsu.edu.