Joanna Bosse is an ethnomusicologist and dance ethnographer committed to the notion that sustained artistic practice is a necessary component of optimal wellness for everyone. She is currently establishing a new research area at the intersection of ethnomusicology, psychology, and neuroscience, and applied social work which explores the health and wellness benefits of artistic engagement among the general population, with current research projects focusing on seniors, dementia patients, and PTSD survivors.
Her previous work focused on couple dance traditions like salsa, tango, swing, and ballroom. Her book, Becoming Beautiful: Ballroom Dance in the American Heartland (University of Illinois Press 2015), presents an ethnographic case study of amateur ballroom dancers who experience personal transformation through artistic engagement. Her documentary film, Becoming Beautiful (2017) has screened on three continents and received several awards. Her research on whiteness, race, and performance appears in The Journal of American Folklore, Dance Research Journal, Ethnomusicology Forum, and elsewhere. Before joining MSU, Joanna taught at Bowdoin College and Millikin University.
She also serves as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities with responsibilities in the areas of academic programs, faculty development, and operations.