Neil Kennedy

Associate Professor,
Department of History
Phone: (709) 864 8968

Research Interests

As a specialist in seventeenth-century Bermuda and the Caribbean, Neil Kennedy’s interests encompass all of the Atlantic Islands, with a particular emphasis on credit, gender, and reputation in the English Atlantic, and on illicit trade in the Caribbean. His broad interests are in early modern material culture, sensory history, maritime cultures, port towns, and plantation societies. He is currently writing two related projects. The first is a book-length examination of core issues of identity and race through the first historical examination of enslaved Bermudian child sailor Patrick Williams. The second is the first full examination of the arrival of the American slave ship Enterprise in Bermuda in 1835, the first such case after Emancipation in the empire.

Kennedy has supervised graduate students working on a variety of subjects in the Early Modern Atlantic World. Currently these include doctoral candidates working on early modern urbanization in Indian Ocean port towns, lead isotope bone analysis of Royal Navy burials in St John’s, and the modelling and computer simulation analysis of the seaworthiness of Roman quinqueremes

Kennedy’s current research orientation includes two parallel ventures, one of which is to explore the seventeenth-century ecological history of Bermuda in relation to the impact of the colony’s maritime orientation and the other is an exploration of the colony’s credit and debt records as those networks of affiliation and obligation both sustained the island’s carrying trade and substituted for the relative lack of political elaboration in early Bermuda.


Kennedy’s work is published in the Journal of Caribbean History, Journal of American History, Bermuda Journal of Archaeology and Maritime History, Canadian Journal of African Studies, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, International Journal of Maritime History, Itinerario, Left History, the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology monograph series and with McGill-Queens University Press. Most recently: “”Slavery wears the mildest aspect’: Imagining Mastery and Emancipation in Bermuda’s House of Assembly”, with Sarah Hannon, Journal of Caribbean History 53, 1 (2019), 60-81.


  • University of Western Ontario, PhD (Atlantic History)
  • The Johns Hopkins University, MA (American Colonial History)
  • The College of William and Mary, MA (Historical Archaeology)
  • University of Toronto, BA (Anthropology and History),


Maritime Studies Research Unit

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000