Jennifer Carroll Lena

Jennifer Carroll Lena


Jennifer C. Lena is Associate Professor of Arts Administration at Teachers College, Columbia University and has a courtesy appointment in the Department of Sociology. She is co-editor of the journal Poetics, and co-editor (with Frederick Wherry and Greta Hsu) of a book series, Culture and Economic Life, published by Stanford University Press. She is past Chair of the Sociology of Culture Section of the American Sociological Association. Lena holds an MA, MPhil, and PhD in Sociology from Columbia University, and a BA from Colgate 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. Lena also examines non-profit executive transitions and organizational closure, particularly in the visual and performing arts, and service organizations. 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). Her current work includes a book project provisionally titled, Entitled: The Omnivorous Generation and the Democratization of the Arts.


Representative examples from each research stream in the past several years:

Lena, Jennifer C. 2012. Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music. Princeton University Press.

Lena, Jennifer C. and Erin Johnston. 2015. “U.S. Cultural Engagement with Global Muslim Communities: Contours and Connections in an Emerging Field.” Grantmakers in the Arts Reader. Vol. 26 (1): 9-13.

Lena, Jennifer C. 2015. “Culture, Production of: Prospects for the Twenty-First Century.” International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2nd Edition. Section Ed. Kees van Rees; Ed. in Chief, James Wright. Elsevier. Pp. 608-613.

Lena, Jennifer C. and Danielle Lindemann. 2014. “Who is an Artist? New Data for an Old Question.” Poetics. Special issue: Art at the Crossroads. Ed. Victoria Alexander and Anne Bower. Vol. 43: 70-85.

Lena, Jennifer C. 2014. “Making It Work: The Education and Employment of Recent Arts Graduates.” Annual Report on the 2013 Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP). With Sally Gaskill, Rebecca F. Houghton, Amber Lambert, Angie Miller, and Steven J. Tepper. Pp. 1-30.

Lena, Jennifer C. January/February 2013. “A Visit From The Credibility Squad.” Pacific Standard. Pgs. 32-35.

Lena, Jennifer C. 2011. “Tradition and Transformation at the Fan Fair Festival.” Pp. 224-248 in Negotiating Values in the Creative Industries: Fairs, Festivals and Competitive Events, ed. Brian Moeran and Jesper Strandgaard Pedersen. Cambridge University Press.