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Andrew Kennedy

Instructor in London

Andrew Kennedy has taught London as Visual Text on the ACM London-Florence program since 2012. He is excited about teaching a second, new course for the program titled Collecting the World in London, focused on exploring the narratives of museums. He has taught art and architectural history, visual culture and cultural studies for a number of British and American colleges over the years. Currently, he teaches for the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in addition to his ACM responsibilities.

Andrew's teaching in recent years has increasingly focused on the stories told by museums in the context of ideas about national and global heritage, concepts of rightful ownership and controversies around the repatriation of artefacts or human remains, all within the framework of imperial and post-imperial history.

Andrew Kennedy talks about Collecting the World in London

Andrew loves working in and around historic sites, and taking students on city walks, especially when the weather is bearable. On these occasions, he frequently tells students that there aren't many better jobs. But one of his favourite quotes is from Walter Benjamin: 'There is no document of civilisation which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.' In other words, much of the historic and touristic beauty we engage with had its origins in suffering and exploitation.

Andrew thus delights in explaining the connections between knowledge, power and plunder as represented in the collections of London's museums, while hypocritically enjoying the availability of such dubious profusion.

In an attempt to counter myths of cultural purity, Andrew likes to trace the interactions between European and Asian, African and Middle Eastern cultures during and since colonialism, the consequences of which include not only slavery and war, but the diasporic and hybrid cultures created by migrants and host populations.

Andrew's doctoral thesis was on the representation of British landscape and cityscape in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, his research interests range much more widely, for example, the construction of gender and nation in Iranian social media. A central theme of his research and teaching is the narrativisation of identity, whether in terms of nation, race, gender or class.

Andrew has had work on landscape and identity published in scholarly journals such as Art History and the Oxford Art Journal, and has written a book on the Bauhaus.