Bio/Info

Short Official Bio:

A former journalist, Sean M. Kennedy is a Consortium for Faculty Diversity postdoctoral fellow at Gettysburg College and a Ph.D. candidate in English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, whose research and teaching broadly engage global political economy, governance, and social relations; decolonization; and political, cultural, and media form. He holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Rutgers University–Newark, a B.A. in English and modern studies from the University of Virginia, and taught at CUNY’s Medgar Evers College for two years. His dissertation rethinks the gangster genre as a formation of global racial capitalism and settler colonialism, displacing the dominant critical focus on white-ethnic mafias in Italy and the U.S.

Longer Official Bio:

A former journalist for such publications as New York magazine and The Advocate, the national LGBTQ resource, Sean M. Kennedy is a Consortium for Faculty Diversity postdoctoral fellow at Gettysburg College and a Ph.D. candidate in English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, whose research and teaching broadly engage global political economy, governance, and social relations; decolonization; and political, cultural, and media form. He holds an M.F.A. in creative writing (fiction) from Rutgers University–Newark, a B.A. in English and modern studies from the University of Virginia, and taught at CUNY’s Medgar Evers College for two years, in addition to stints at CUNY’s Lehman College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and York College.

Sean’s dissertation, Original Gangsters: Genre, Crime, and the Violences of Settler Democracy, rethinks the gangster genre as a formation of global racial capitalism and settler colonialism, displacing the dominant critical focus on white-ethnic mafias in Italy and the U.S. In this expanded context, he argues that the gangster genre, in a template followed by other influential entertainment genres, facilitates the reproduction of inequality at various scales by erasing the role institutions play in keeping liberal-democratic society hierarchical and stratified. Indeed, this “genre work,” as Sean calls it, has helped maintain the changing-same of modernity since the advent of European empire in the 15th century. Original Gangsters is anchored by case studies set in the British postcolonies of India, South Africa, and the U.S., and its research and writing have been funded by several Graduate Center grants, culminating, in 2019, with a Graduate Center Dissertation Year Award.

Sean’s teaching, meanwhile, was recognized (for this course) with the 2014 Diana Colbert Award for Innovative Teaching from the Graduate Center’s Ph.D. Program in English, and his service contributions include a five-year term as the coordinator of advocacy and education for the CUNY Adjunct Project and a four-year stretch as an elected member of the Doctoral Students’ Council. He also convened and organized the “Critical Diversities and/in the Academy: Thought and Practice” series in 2014.

In addition to numerous public writings, Sean’s published in Social Text, has work forthcoming in Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies, and has presented at and organized sessions for the conferences of the Modern Language Association, American Comparative Literature Association, American Studies Association, Cultural Studies Association, Critical Ethnic Studies Association, and Caribbean Studies Association, among other academic gatherings.

Raised in the suburbs of New York and Washington, D.C., he now lives with his partner in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood, not far from where his dad grew up in Canarsie.

First-Person Addendum:

I welcome inquiries via my Gmail (kennedy.sean) and invite you to check out my public notebooks, otherwise known as my Twitter and Instagram, via my screen name (slicksean).

>>>I also freelance edit and consult on a wide range of projects, as described here. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss collaborating.

Finally, see my earlier websites for archived content, including blog posts: the first, established in 2010 (though some elements tweaked over the years), and the second, on the CUNY Academic Commons, established in 2014. This website established April 2017.

Thank you for visiting and reading.

Me at the University of the Witwatersrand Historical Papers archive on the last stretch of my six-week research trip to South Africa, July-August 2015.
At the University of the Witwatersrand Historical Papers archive, August 2015.