Bio/Info

Short Official Bio:

A former journalist, Sean M. Kennedy is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, investigating questions of 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, turning away from the dominant critical focus on white-ethnic mafias in Italy and the U.S. It features case studies set in India, South Africa, the U.S., and the Caribbean.

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 Ph.D. candidate in English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, investigating questions of 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. He’s also collaborated with students at Rutgers-Newark and CUNY’s Lehman College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and York College, where he presently tutors students in writing and trains faculty in student-centered writing practices.

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, turning away from 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 exclusionary. 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 India, South Africa, the U.S., and the Caribbean, and its research and writing have been funded by several Graduate Center grants, culminating, in 2019, with the Graduate Center Dissertation Year Award.

Sean’s teaching, meanwhile, was recognized 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 stint 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.

In addition to numerous public writings, Sean’s published in Social Text and 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 scholarly and activist gatherings.

Raised in the suburbs of New York and Washington, D.C., he now lives 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.