Michael Kennedy

Photo of Michael Kennedy; Credit: Andrew Testa/Panos for the Open Society Foundations
226 Watson Institute

Research Interests

Knowledge Cultural Sociology, Global and Transnational Sociology, Critical and Public Sociology, Europe and Eurasia


Michael D. Kennedy (@Prof_Kennedy) is professor of sociology and international and public affairs at Brown University. Throughout his career, Kennedy has addressed East European social movements and systemic change.  For the last 20 years, he also has worked in the sociology of public knowledge, global transformations, and cultural politics, with particular focus on social movements and universities. He continues to work in global and transnational sociology, focusing now on how various articulations of difference and solidarity travel. Recent political transformations within the USA and across the world have moved him toward a more knowledge cultural and public sociology, focusing especially on how communities of discourse use various kinds of questions, styles of reasoning, and forms of evidence to identify the qualities of justice defining various forms of social organization and modes of transformation. In the coming decade, he will also research projections of identity and transformations of human and social capacity.

Kennedy was the University of Michigan's first vice provost for international affairs in addition to being director of an institute and five centers and programs at UM; he also served as the Howard R. Swearer Director of Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. Kennedy concluded 9 years of service on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors at the Social Science Research Council in 2015, a two year term on the International Academic Advisors' Board of Singapore Management University's School of Social Sciences in 2017, and 3 years on the Governing Board of European Humanities University in 2019. He was Chair of the Global and Transnational Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association in 2019-20. He is Co-Chair of the Advisory Board for the Open Society Foundations'  Education Program.

He is Co-Chair of the Advisory Board for the Open Society Foundations' Education Program through 2021 and is currently a candidate to become Vice President of the American Sociological Association https://www.asanet.org/about/governance-and-leadership/election.