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April MastenAssociate ProfessorDepartment of HistoryCollege of Arts and Sciences


Winner of the American Historical Association’s 2021 Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award, Professor Masten teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on Nineteenth Century America, industrialization, slavery, women’s history, and popular culture. In her class “Dancing Through American History,” students learn historical dances to complement their archival study of people, places, and periods. As a scholar, she considers herself a labor historian of the visual and performance arts. She has published articles on Black-Irish challenge dancing, the overlooked artistic contributions of artists’ models, the pitfalls of researching under-documented lives and writing interdisciplinary history, and the joys of teaching history through dance. Her essay “Shake Hands? Lilly Martin Spencer and the Politics of Art” (American Quarterly, June 2004) won the 2005 Article Prize from the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association.


  • PhD: Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), American History
  • MA: Rutgers University (New Brunswick) , European History
  • MA: University of Leeds (England), Social History of Art
  • BA: San Francisco State University, Music and Dance