Denis Kennedy



Political Science Department

Associate Professor 

Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Fields:  International Relations theory, global governance, NGOs, humanitarianism


Contact Information

Office Phone: 508-793-3716
Office: Fenwick 303
Office Hours: 
Box: 147A



Denis Kennedy is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the College of the Holy Cross and (as of July 2022) Director of the International Studies program. From 2016-2019 he also served as Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies (PCON) program. Prior to his arrival at Holy Cross, he was a Visiting Professor in the Williams School at Washington and Lee University and a Visiting Researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (UPI) in Helsinki, Finland. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bucknell University and received his Ph.D. and masters from the University of Minnesota, where he also taught as an adjunct instructor.

Kennedy's research and teaching interests range broadly in the areas of international organization, global governance, and International Relations theory, with a specific focus on humanitarianism. His most significant research project has charted the development of humanitarianism into a professional, rule-governed field of endeavor through an analysis of the most significant international self-regulatory initiatives. He has published work in Global SocietyHumanityInternational Theory, VOLUNTASJournal of Civil SocietyLatin American Policy, the Journal of Global Change and Governance, and the Journal of Humanitarian Assistance. In 2017, he co-convened the biennial conference of the national Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN), "Principles in Crisis: Refugees and Responsibility," hosted at Holy Cross.


Ph.D., Political Science, University of Minnesota (2012)

M.A., Political Science, University of Minnesota (2008)

B.A., International Relations, French, Political Science, Bucknell University (2005)


  • Political Science 103 - Introduction to International Relations
  • Political Science 281 - Global Governance
  • Political Science 284 - Human Rights
  • Political Science 287 - Humanitarianism
  • Political Science 399 - Refugees
  • CISS 209 - Pandemic Policy: The Science and Politics of COVID-19

Recent Publications:

(Can't access an article? Feel welcome to email me.)

  • Denis Kennedy and Alpa Dhanani. 2022. Envisioning legitimacy: visual dimensions of NGO annual reports. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (EarlyView). DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-01-2020-4377. LINK.
  • Denis Kennedy and François Venne (HC '19). 2022. Return of the Amateurs? Comparing Grassroots and Professional Approaches to International Relief. Global Society (EarlyView). DOI: 10.1080/13600826.2022.2056881. LINK. (PDF link).
  • Denis Kennedy. 2019. The Inherently Contested Nature of Nongovernmental Accountability: The Case of HAP International. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 30(6): 1393-1405. DOI: 10.1007/s11266-019-00134-3. LINK(PDF link).
  • Denis Kennedy. 2019. Humanitarianism, Governed: Rules, Identity, and Exclusion in Relief Work. Humanity 10(2), pp 207-237. DOI: 10.1353/hum.2019.0012. LINK. (PDF link)
  • Denis Kennedy. 2018. American standards: definition and differentiation through nonprofit self-regulation. Journal of Civil Society 14(3), pp 257-274. DOI: 10.1080/17448689.2018.1496378. LINK. (PDF)
  • Denis Kennedy and Brian Beaton (HC '16). 2016. Two Steps Forward? Assessing Latin American Regionalism Through CELAC. Latin American Policy 7(1), pp 52-79. DOI: 10.1111/lamp.12090. LINK.
  • Juha Käpylä and Denis Kennedy. 2014. Cruel to care? Investigating the governance of compassion in the humanitarian imaginary. International Theory, 6(2), pp 255-292. DOI: 10.1017/S1752971914000025. LINK. (PDF)
  • Denis Kennedy. 2009. Advancing the Normative Frame: A Community Approach to Humanitarian Practices of Neutrality. Journal of Global Change and Governance, 3(1), pp 1-22. ISSN: 1941-8760.
  • Denis Kennedy. 2009. Selling the Distant Other: Humanitarianism and Imagery - Ethical Dilemmas of Humanitarian Action. Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, 28.  LINK.