Kelly Dennis

Associate Professor

Visual Studies | Storrs


UConn Affiliations: American Studies

Education: Ph.D. in Art History, University of Southern California, 1994
M.A. in Art History, University of Southern California, 1989
A.B. in English, Occidental College, 1985

Areas of Research/Artistic Focus:  Art + Technology, Histories of Visual Communications Technologies, Visual Culture of Screen Technologies, Histories of Photography, Video, Performance, and Digital and Internet Art

Kelly Dennis is Associate Professor of Visual Studies in the Department of Digital Media & Design at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. She is also Affiliated Faculty in the American Studies program. Like 25 percent of students at UConn, Professor Dennis is a first generation college student. 

Dr. Dennis’s research focuses on the histories of visual communications technologies as they impact the production and consumption of images, both analog and digital. She is the author of Art/Porn: A History of Seeing and Touching (Berg, 2009), which critically analyzes—from Plato to the Internet—the rhetoric of taste and the senses as they relate to class distinctions surrounding reception of the nude. Her current book project, Desert Exposures: Aesthetics and Politics in Postwar Arizona Highways and the West, focuses on the impact of photography’s dual role in post-WWII western promotion and in a regional aesthetics of landscape photography. Dr. Dennis’s work on performance art, and electronic and Internet art has appeared in such journals as Art Journal, n.paradoxa, History of Photography, Miranda: revue pluridisciplinaire due monda anglophone, Ácoma: Rivista Internazionale di Studi Nord-Americani, and Strategies, as well as in numerous anthologies and encyclopedias. She also has been a consultant on films and theatrical productions about pornography and sexuality and delivered keynote addresses on pornography in Brisbane, Australia and, in Mexico City. 

Before coming to the University of Connecticut in 2001, Dr. Dennis taught modern and contemporary art history, critical theory, and histories of the camera image at Northwestern University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Art Center College of Design. During 2016, Dr. Dennis taught graduate and undergraduate courses in U.S. documentary photography and image analyses at the Université de Toulouse-Jean Jaures. 

Professor Dennis organizes the UConn node of the annual Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon.

Recent Research Achievements: Book: Art/Porn: A History of Seeing and Touching (Berg, 2009); Ansel Adams Fellowship (2009) and the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute Research Fellow (2013).
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