University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

School of Fine ArtsArt & Art History Department

Kelly Dennis


Associate Professor of Art History

Kelly Dennis is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on the histories of visual communications technologies as they impact the production and consumption of images. Her recent and ongoing research focuses on photography as a site for the negotiation and regulation of sensory response to visual imagery and related distinctions between high art and mass culture. Her first book, Art/Porn: A History of Seeing and Touching (Berg, 2009), 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. Additional research for this project was supported by an Ansel Adams Fellowship (2009) and the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (2013).

Dr. Dennis has published related research on performance and video art and electronic and Internet art 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, at the first conference on pornography in Latin America. In recent years she has presented nationally and internationally on the corporeal and corporatized surveillance of TSA body scanning technologies. Upcoming talks address digital and Internet art representations of the American West in a globalized and “postwestern” era.

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, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. AT SAIC and UConn, she has chaired or advised on numerous graduate art history and MFA committees, and she was Graduate Director of Art History from 2009-12. At UConn, Dr. Dennis teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in modern and contemporary art history, the history of photography, performance and video art, the historiography of art history, and the history and theory of digital art. During spring 2016, she will be teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in U.S. documentary imagery at the Université de Toulouse-Jean Jaures.

Dr. Dennis is a longstanding member of the College Art Association and the Western Literature Association. At present, she serves on the Executive Committee and the Negotiations Team of the University of Connecticut chapter of the American Association of University Professors, and is the School of Fine Arts representative to the University Senate, where she is also a member of the University Budget Committee.

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