(c) Leslie Rodriguez Photography, 2011

Jennifer C. Lena is Associate Professor of Arts Administration at Teachers College, Columbia University and Affiliated Faculty in the Department of Sociology. She also holds an appointment as Senior Research Scholar for the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) at Indiana University. She is a past fellow of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at Princeton University, and the Curb Center for Arts, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University, and held faculty positions at Vanderbilt University and Barnard College.

Her research focuses on understanding processes of classification, particularly the organizational and institutional conditions for the creation, modification, or elimination of cultural categories like genres.

She is the author of Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music (Princeton University Press, 2012), which was named one of Choice Reviews Outstanding Academic Titles for 2012

Her research has been published in the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Poetics, and American Behavioral Scientist, among other peer-reviewed journals, and has been reprinted in texts dedicated to highlighting excellence in social science methods, hip-hop scholarship, and the sociology of culture.

Lena is reputed to be the first sociologist to commission a Grammy-nominated album: Hilos (composer: Gabriela Frank; performed by ALIAS Chamber Ensemble; released in 2010 by Naxos Records).

Since 2003, she has written a blog called What is the What? You can reach her at jcl42@columbia.edu or @WITWhat.