Kevin KennedyI arrived at AUP this fall (2013) and was immediately struck by the fact that its students and staff hail from many different places and cultures. As my academic work draws on the intellectual cultures and histories of several countries (notably France, Germany, England and the U.S.), this diversity was something I quickly identified with and hoped to contribute to. I was furthermore intrigued by the interdisciplinary and cross-departmental approach I encountered here, reflecting my own research, which is situated at the tenuous border between literature and philosophy.

Before coming to AUP I taught a course in literary theory at Goldsmiths College, London. Prior to that, in 2012, I received a doctorate in comparative literature from the Free University Berlin with a thesis on Georges Bataille’s theory of art and literature (soon to be published by Academica Press). In addition to my education in traditional and modern forms of literary theory and criticism, I have a background in the history of German aesthetics, the Frankfurt School and modern French thought (especially Bataille, Blanchot and Foucault). I am also very interested in the history of the avant-garde and its legacy (especially Surrealism, which makes Paris a very exciting place for me to work and live in), modern British and American fiction and contemporary art theory.

My current research project, which is still in its infancy, explores the relation between aesthetic experience and social utility. I am interested in the way this relation is reflected in contemporary philosophical theories and modern works of art and literature. Taking my previous work on Bataille’s aesthetic theory as a starting point, I analyze how theories of the aesthetic are always inevitably confronted with the task of conceptually framing an experience that, in a sense, always resists and transcends political, ethical or social appropriation. Thus my research combines literary and cultural studies, philosophy, art theory and anthropology in an attempt to delineate the place and function of art and literature in modern society.

Apart from my academic activity, I work as a free-lance writer and translator for universities, art magazines and galleries, specializing in contemporary art practices and theory. I have done translation work for, amongst others, the University of Potsdam, the Free University, Berlin, the New York Magazine for Contemporary Art and Theory, New York, The National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Berlin, and Nature Morte, Berlin. My writing has been published in a several art catalogues, such as Edition Taube and Goldrausch Berlin, as well as in the exhibition catalgoues of the international artist collective Transidency.

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