- Ph.D., Anthropology, Indiana University, 2016
- M.A., Historical Archaeology, University of Massachutesetts Boston, 2008
- B.A., Archaeology, University of Virginia, 2004
Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Geographical Areas of Specialization
Western North America, Gulf of Mexico
Zooarchaeology, Historical Archaeology, Fish and Fisheries, Animal Commodification and Trade, Chinese Diaspora, Migration, Archaeology of Food
I am a zooarchaeologist and I direct Indiana University’s William R. Adams Zooarchaeology Laboratory. My research focuses on the commodification and trade of animals in the past, and I am especially interested in how and why animals and animals are incorporated into broader market economies and how commodification impacts animals through processes like overfishing. I explore these themes in several contexts, including (1) Chinese diaspora sites in the American West (especially California and Wyoming) and (2) the northern Gulf of Mexico (especially New Orleans). My research takes a broad, comparative perspective, and I frequently collaborate with colleagues conducting stable isotope and ancient DNA analyses.
My work in Chinese diaspora contexts began with analysis of animal remains from the Market Street Chinatown, a 19th-century Chinese community in San Jose, California. My early research questions examined the role of food in migrant lives, how diasporic foodways compared to those in migrants’ home villages, and how archaeologists approach tradition in migrant contexts. Since then, I have focused on Chinese-run extractive industries in the American West, including dried fish and bear paw production. This work emphasizes entrepreneurialism, transnational connections, and the importance of Chinese-run import/export firms, and it is informed by collaboration with Chinese American descendant community members. This is especially the case for my analysis of fish remains from the Point Alones fishing village in Monterey Bay, California, where descendant interest in the resilience of Chinese fishers and their role in building scientific collections has shaped the work of my research team. I am currently doing ‘deep dives’ into the collection and trade of numerous animals including rockfishes, flatfishes (e.g., flounders), pikeminnows, bears, and Anatids (ducks, geese, and swans).
I am also conducting research on the development and effects of fishing industries in the Gulf of Mexico. This includes generating baseline data for fishing practices and fish consumption in New Orleans over the past 300 years, including the rising popularity of estuarine fishes by the end of the 18th century and the importation of non-local fishes, like Red Snapper, in the late-19th century. My collaborators and I have identified the first known historical overfishing of Sheepshead, a common estuarine fish, via size estimation and stable isotope analyses, and we are expanding these methods to consider other important food fishes. We are also examining the development and impacts of the Red Snapper industry, which began in the 1860s near Pensacola, Florida. New Orleans was a prime commercial outlet for Red Snapper, and archaeological data from the city provide a record of the earliest decades of this industry.
I am developing several new research projects that build on my previous studies. Most notably, my collaborators and I are beginning a multiregional study of migratory bird use in the Mississippi Flyway. This project combines zooarchaeological, isotopic, and genetic data collected from migratory bird remains from archaeological sites and natural history collections to examine human-bird interactions at regional and continental scales. Our goals with this project are to understand how different bird species were used by humans across space and time, as well as trace the ways that modern bird populations have been shaped by long-term interactions with different groups of people. Though at an earlier project stage, my team and I have also begun examining the use of different kinds of turtles in the recent past, including in New Orleans and at a mid-20th-century sea turtle kraal in the Florida Keys.
Please email me if you are interested in volunteering in the lab or studying zooarchaeology at Indiana University.
2022 Kennedy, J.R. and E.J. Guiry. Exploring Railroad Impacts on Meat Trade: An Isotopic Investigation of Meat Sourcing and Animal Husbandry at Chinese Diaspora Sites in the American West. International Journal of Historical Archaeology.
2021 Kennedy, J.R., B. Bingham, M.F. Flores, and B.M. Kemp. Ancient DNA identification of Giant Snakehead (Channa micropeltes) remains from the Market Street Chinatown and some implications for the nineteenth-century Pacific World fish trade. American Antiquity 87(1):42-58.
2021 Guiry, E.G., J.R. Kennedy, M.T. O’Connell, D.R. Gray, C. Grant, and P. Szpak. Early evidence for long-term overfishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Science Advances 7:eabh2525.
2019 deFrance, S.D. and J.R. Kennedy. The Finny Tribe: How Coastal, Cosmopolitan New Orleans Satisfied an Appetite for Fish. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 24:367-397.
2019 Kennedy, J.R., S.C. Heffner, V. Popper, R.P. Harrod, and J.J. Crandall. The Health and Well-being of Chinese Railroad Workers. In Chinese and the Iron Road: Building the Transcontinental and other Railroads in North America. Edited by G.H. Chang and S. Fisher Fishkin. Stanford University Press.
2019 Kennedy, J.R. Challenges and Opportunities with the Market Street Chinatown Collection, San Jose, California. In New Life for Archaeological Collections. Edited by R. Allen and B. Ford. University of Nebraska Press.
2019 Allen, R., B. Ford, and J.R. Kennedy. Reclaiming the Research Potential of Archaeological Collections. In New Life for Archaeological Collections. Edited by R. Allen and B. Ford. University of Nebraska Press.
2019 Pezzarossi, G. and J.R. Kennedy. Assemblages of Production: Capitalist Colonial Labor Regimes and other Productive Practices in Highland Guatemala. Historical Archaeology 53(3):653-673.
2018 Kennedy, J.R., L. Rogers, and F. Kaestle. Ancient DNA Evidence for the Regional Trade of Bear Paws by Chinese Diaspora Communities in 19th-century Western North America. Journal of Archaeological Science 99:135-142.
2018 Voss, B.L., J.R. Kennedy, J. Tan, and L.W. Ng. The Archaeology of Home: Qiaoxiang and Non-State Actors in the Archaeology of the Chinese Diaspora. American Antiquity 83(3):407-426.
2017 Kennedy, J.R. The Fresh and the Salted: Chinese Migrant Fisheries Engagement and Trade in Nineteenth-Century North America. Journal of Ethnobiology 37(3):421-439.
2015 Kennedy, J.R. Zooarchaeology, Localization, and Chinese Railroad Workers in North America. Historical Archaeology 49(1):122-133.
2014 Cummings, L.S., B.L. Voss, C.Y. Yu, P.K., K. Puseman, C. Yost, J.R. Kennedy, and M.S. Kane. Fan and Tsai: Intracommunity Variation in Plant-Based Food Consumption at the Market Street Chinatown, San Jose, California. Historical Archaeology 48(2):143-172.
2012 Pezzarossi, G., J.R. Kennedy, and H.B. Law. “Hoe Cake and Pickerel”’: Cooking Traditions, Community, and Agency at a Nineteenth Century Nipmuc Farmstead. In The Menial Art of Cooking: Archaeological Studies of Cooking and Food Preparation. Edited by S. Graff and E. Rodríquez-Alegría. University Press of Colorado.