>>>I’m currently providing editorial services for private clients working on a range of projects, from dissertations to journal articles to organizing campaigns to art criticism. I’m also available for creative coaching and consulting services. Find more details here and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you’d like to discuss collaborating. My fees are negotiable and arrived at in conversation with you. Email me at my Gmail (kennedy.sean).<<<
Short Official Bio:
Sean M. Kennedy is an analyst of cultural politics and political cultures in the U.S. and Anglophone world. A former journalist and current Consortium for Faculty Diversity postdoctoral fellow at Gettysburg College, Dr. Kennedy (he/his, they/their) received his Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 2020. Using his training in Black studies, postcolonial studies, and American studies, Dr. Kennedy’s research and teaching expand understandings of global political economy, governance, and social relations; decolonization and abolition; and political, cultural, and media form. He holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Rutgers University–Newark and a B.A. in English and modern studies from the University of Virginia, where he studied queer theory, cultural studies, and poetry and began thinking about social change, the horizon of his efforts inside and outside the academy. Dr. Kennedy’s first book (in progress), Original Gangsters: Violence, Crime, and the Genres of Liberal Democracy, offers an account of how truth claims are produced and sustained to limit progress in representatively governed societies.
Longer Informal Bio:
Professionally I’m an analyst of cultural politics and political cultures in the U.S. and Anglophone world. That means, in the first instance, that I study and assess the political ideas embedded in English-language cultural products like literature, music, TV, film, and art. I think of these forms of expression collectively as media, and I’m interested in what ideas they promote, what the origins of those ideas are, and what their effects are on audiences and other media makers. In the second instance—political cultures—I examine how and why specific groups of people unite around particular political ideas and try to make them a reality, from local grassroots initiatives to national political parties to international and global actors like the International Criminal Court. And I examine these two areas—cultural politics and political cultures—across the multiple time periods and spaces of the British and American empires: the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe as well as the many sites around the world where the influence of “Anglos” remains strong. In this regard, I remain committed to African studies and South Asian studies while I develop competency in East Asian studies and Latin American studies to improve my global acuity.
My first book (in progress), Original Gangsters: Violence, Crime, and the Genres of Liberal 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 new context, I argue 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. To counter this status quo, I advocate for the abandonment of genre as an organizing form in favor of an engagement with difference that is open and undisciplined. Original Gangsters is anchored by case studies set in the British postcolonies of India, South Africa, and the U.S. and builds upon recent and lasting scholarship in the component fields of critical race and ethnic studies, Moreover, I mobilize these ideas in my writing and other communications through an intersectional and interdisciplinary methodology that practices my ethics of mutual aid, care, and change.
As a teacher, I endeavor to make the classroom a laboratory for experimental thinking and self- and collective inquiry into real-world problems—an effort for which I was recognized with the 2014 Diana Colbert Award for Innovative Teaching from the Graduate Center’s Ph.D. Program in English. Outside the classroom, my activities have concentrated in political organizing, including a five-year stint developing campaigns and public programming as the coordinator of advocacy and education for the CUNY Adjunct Project. I also got my feet wet in formal political participation through various actions within my former union at CUNY and in the Doctoral Students’ Council, where I served as an elected representative for four years. And, in 2014, I organized and convened “Critical Diversities and/in the Academy: Thought and Practice,” a speaker series and colloquium on academic transformation.
In addition to numerous public writings, my scholarship has appeared in the legendary journal Social Text and I myself have appeared at myriad scholarly conferences, including those of the Modern Language Association, American Comparative Literature Association, American Studies Association, Cultural Studies Association, Critical Ethnic Studies Association, and Caribbean Studies Association. I’m also a monthly grassroots donor for three organizations close to my research: Critical Resistance, the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition, and Jewish Voice for Peace.
Raised in the suburbs of New York and Washington, D.C., I now live with my partner in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood, not far from where my dad grew up in Canarsie.
Contact & Miscellany:
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!