Interdisciplinary Engagement: The Kennerly Archive


David Hume Kennerly Robert F. Kennedy, Senator, Moments before His Assassination, Los Angeles, California, 1968. © Bettmann/Getty Images

For students and scholars alike, archival collections offer space to find inspiration, to extract knowledge, to create projects, and to learn from one another. Building on the Center for Creative Photography’s distinguished collection of photojournalism, the David Hume Kennerly Archive is an exciting curatorial opportunity to explore visual and media literacies, to initiate critical dialogue and to invigorate curriculum across the University of Arizona’s academic disciplines. Below are a just a handful of examples of how we envision interdisciplinary engagement with the Kennerly Archive.

Dr. Meg Jackson Fox
Associate Curator of Academic and Public Programs, Center for Creative Photography

History | Gender & Women's Studies

Photographs of the twentieth-century political landscape relay the stories of an historical moment for young scholars in History and in Gender and Women’s Studies. Photographs can depict aspects of gender and class polarities, intersectional and binary identities, and the makeup of contemporary visual culture. With such images as Robert F. Kennedy in The Ambassador Hotel in 1968, we are able to dive into crucial dialogues about the variety of American experiences, and about our collective histories and our shared contemporary moments. This photograph depicts Kennedy as the then-presidential candidate celebrated a primary victory in California, just moments before his tragic assassination.

Government & Public Policy | Law | International Relations

One unassailable truth is that photography has the potential to influence Public Policy, Law, and International Relations. This particular image of Kennedy speaks to the power of narratives and news, and it significantly marks the internal division within United States politics at the end of the 1960s: between optimism and cynicism, between change and the status quo, between mobilization and suppression. We ask in class sessions together: how did photography shape personal and political life in the 1960s, as well as the world thereafter?

Public Health

Storytelling is a connective tissue between photography and those training to be Public Health practitioners, who now use photography, film, and social media for educational initiatives, grassroots advocacy, and community research. It is in photographs such as this that we are better able to teach methods of visual analysis, communication, distribution, and reception of images, in order that public health agencies, policy makers, and community leaders can use those images to the good of their local and national initiatives.

Political & Critical Theory

Today’s interdisciplinary degrees, such as UA’s “Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law” and “Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory,” lead to careers like campaign director, policy analyst, university faculty, and community activist. Importantly for these future leaders, Kennerly’s archival collection, and the Kennedy photograph specifically, can spark theoretical conversations about political communities, about the spectrum of morality and justice, about restoring democracy and its own inheritance of resistance. Who determines our society’s breaking point, historically and today?

Communication | Journalism

Among the many valuable skills exercised by Communication and Journalism majors is persuasive public speaking, which requires fluency in interpersonal relationships, a judiciousness in discerning and refining shareable information, and a capacity for audience engagement. In Kennerly’s fine print portfolio, these students can critically observe the various contexts, the spatial organizations and transferred emotions, and the gestures and postures of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries’ most influential leaders and orators.

Connect & Engage

The CCP generates space for collective inquiry through visual and archival materials. We invite educators, from any subject or discipline, to develop with us critical and creative learning experiences based on your pedagogical goals. Visit the CCP Education page to learn more about academic engagement opportunities and to schedule a tour with your students.

Education Opportunities at CCP