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Dr. A. (Alessandra) Benedicty-Kokken PhD

Universitair docent
Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen

  • Spuistraat 134
  • Postbus 1642
    1000 BP Amsterdam
  • Profile

    As of August 2022, Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken is University Docent at the University of Amsterdam’s Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. Alessandra is co-Book Reviews Editor for the Journal of Haitian Studies with Marie-José Nzegou-Tayo. She is a board member of the Haitian Studies Associaton. She also worked closely with Cécile Accilien and Carlo A. Célius on the initiative https://www.istwart.com/, which launched in 2020. From 2018-22, she was Series Editor for Brill’s Caribbean Series stewarding the publication of six books, including Marie Vieux Chauvet’s Theaters, co-edited by Christian Flaugh and Lena Taub Robles and she remains on its Advisory Board. She is author of: a monograph titled Spirit Possession in French, Haitian, and Vodou Thought: An Intellectual History (2015); the co-edited “Revisiting Marie Vieux Chauvet,” a special issue of Yale French Studies (2016), with Kaiama L. Glover, and also the co-edited The Haiti Exception: Anthropology and the Predicament of Narrative (2016), with Kaiama L. Glover, Mark Schuller, and Jhon Picard Byron. Since moving to the Netherlands, she has sought to make more prevalent (alongside the work of colleagues Sony Jean Joseph, Esther Captain, Rachel Gillett, Kasia Mika, Wayne Modest, and resonating with René Koekkoek’s recent books) the often forgotten role Haiti has played in shaping northern European public life since the European enlightenment, through engaging history and pedagogy in a recent article co-authored with Darren Staloff on the legacy of the John Adams’ and John Quincy Adams’ presidencies, published as part Cécile Accilien and Valérie K. Orlando’s Teaching Haiti: Strategies for Creating New Narratives.

    Over the past two decades, she has maintained a double-career: one in Academe and the other in the cultural sector. Most recently, she served as Research Coordinator and Senior Researcher at the Research Center for Material Culture at the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen in the Netherlands (2019-22), where she remains a Research Associate, working notably on Un/Engendering the Collections. Founded and headed by Wayne Modest, the role of the RCMC is to critically interrogate the historical legacies of ‘the ethnographic museum.’  She has a Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies, from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, which was the first explicitly feminist French studies department in the United States, and also boasts one of the most prominent African Studies programs in the world. She maintains an affiliation with the Center for Worker Education at the City College of New York, often referred to as the "Harvard of the people," where she was formerly an Associate Professor of Caribbean and Postcolonial Studies and French at the City College of New York and the Graduate Center (City University of New York). She spent a decade working in cultural diplomacy, at the French Embassy in both Washington, D.C. and NYC, as well as at the Québec Government House in NYC.  She is also a graduate of: Critical Muslim Studies: Decolonial Struggles and Liberation Theologies and Black European Summer School. She is versed in scholarship about the Caribbean Enlightenment; the relationship between the French, Haitian, and US revolutions; the “DOM,” or the départements d’outre-mer; as well as poverty studies. She is a member of Villa Albertine selection committee. 

    Recently, she has published a series of articles that interrogate what Sarah Phillips Casteel names “the rhetorical oppositionality  of ‘Black’ and ‘Jew’” as well as a series that thinks through Africana feminism and the notion of nomadism in dialogue with the work of novelist Igiaba Scego and Abdourahman Waberi.  Alessandra currently is affiliated with Het Instituut voor Cultuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (ICON) at Utrecht Universiteit.


  • Publicaties


    • Benedicty-Kokken, A., Modest, W., & Flores, W. (2024). Dessalines’ nalatenschap, vodoufilosofie en intimiteit (als curatie) / Dessalines’ Legacies, Vodou Philosophy, and Intimacy (as Curation). In Our Colonial Inheritance (eds. Wayne Modest & Wendeline Flores): How slavery and colonialism continue to shape our present (pp. 176-193). Lannoo.
    • Martin, N. (Ed.), Willemars, I. F. D. M. R. (Ed.), Aguilar, E. A., Amfreville, M., Benedicty-Kokken, A., Graham-Dixon, C., Magno, S., Pratt, M. J. O., Rosello, M. D., & Segal, N. (2024). The Replaceability Paradigm: Replacement and Irreplaceability From Dante to DeepDream. (Culture and Conflict). De Gruyter.


    • Almudéver Chanzà, J., Benedicty-Kokken, A., & Veys, F. W. (2023). Rethinking gender from the ethnographic museum. Introduction to the special issue. Journal of Material Culture, 28(4), 501-514. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/13591835231210664 [details]
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2023). Rethinking gender from the ethnographic museum. Introduction to the special issue: Article which introduces the special volume, co-authored by: Josep Almudever Chanza and Fanny Wonu Veys. Journal of Material Culture, 28(4), 501-514.
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2023). Review of: Ijan(s) / Urgence(s). By Kolektif2D. Fotopaklé, vol. 2. Port-au-Prince: FOKAL, 2021. ISBN 978-99970-972-1-7. $25. 344 pp. Contact: https:// www.fokal.org/en/. Journal of Haitian Studies, 29(1), 227.
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A., Almudéver Chanzà, J. (Ed.), & Veys, F. W. (2023). Special Issue: Rethinking Gender and the Ethnographic Museum. Journal of Material Culture, 28(4).
    • Kensmil, I., Kerchman, A., Wevers, R., & Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2023). In gesprek met Iris Kensmil: Cultuurkritiek in kunst, theorie en praktijk. In S. Ponzanesi, K. Thiele, E. Midden, D. Olivieri, & T. Oorschot (Eds.), Transitie in kunst, cultuur en politiek =Transitions in Art, Culture, and Politics (pp. 199-209). Amsterdam University Press. https://doi.org/10.5117/9789048560110_kensmil [details]



    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2021). A ‘New’ Antillean DOM Arts Scene, or the Pragmatic Aesthetics of Patience: Artincidence, Annabel Guérédrat, Daniel Goudrouffe, Henri Tauliaut, and Jeannette Ehlers. In The Struggle of Non-Sovereign Caribbean Territories: Neoliberalism since the French Antillean Uprisings of 2009 Rutgers UP.
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2021). Haiti in the Presidencies of John Adams and John Quincy Adams: A Lesson Plan and Course Module. In Teaching Haiti: Strategies for Creating New Narratives University Press of Florida.


    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2019). Raphaël Confiant and Jewishness: The Fraught Landscapes of French, Martinican and Franco-Martinican Intellectualisms. In S. Phillips Casteel, & H. Kaufman (Eds.), Caribbean Jewish Crossings: Literary History and Creative Practice (pp. 220-247). (New world studies). University of Virginia Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvq4bz53.15 [details]
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2019). “Bloodied Flower”: On Translating the Burden of the Floral in Marie Chauvet’s La Légende des Fleurs. In C. Flaugh, & L. Taub Robles (Eds.), Marie Vieux Chauvet’s Theatres: Thought, Form, and Performance of Revolt (pp. 221-230). (Caribbean Series; Vol. 35). Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004388086_015 [details]


    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2017). A Polyvalent Mediterranean, or the trope of nomadism in the literary œuvre of Igiaba Scego and Abdourahman Waberi. Revue électronique de littérature francaise , 11(2).


    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2016). 'The Origins of Totalitarianism': from Resistance to Human Rights in Marie Chauvet's Les Rapaces. Yale French Studies.
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2016). Revisiting Marie Vieux Chauvet: Paradoxes of the Postcolonial Feminine.” Yale French Studies. Yale French Studies.
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2016). The Haiti Exception: Anthropology and the Predicament of Narrative. Liverpool University.
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2016). On ‘being Jewish’, on ‘studying Haiti’… Herskovits, Métraux, Race, and Human Rights. In The Haiti Exception: Anthropology and the Predicament of Narrative Liverpool University.


    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2015). Spirit Possession in French, Haitian, and Vodou Thought – An Intellectual History. Rowman&Littlefield.
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2015). Ananda Devi and Dany Laferrière: The Culture Industry, Poverty Discourse, and Postcolonial Literatures in French. Frame: Tijdschrift .
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2015). Living in Haiti: Space and the Urban Environment in Kettly Mars’s L’heure hybride and Aux frontières de la soif. “Haiti in a Globalized Frame. Francosphères.
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2015). Lovers, Conversations, and the ‘Critical Use of Memory’: Raoul Peck’s Fatal Assistance (2013) and Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima, mon amour (1959). In Raoul Peck: Power, Politics and the Cinematic Imagination Rowman&Littlefield.



    • Benedicty, A. (2012). Aesthetics of “Ex-centricity” and Considerations of “Poverty”. Small Axe, 16(3 (39)), 166-176. https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-1894159
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2012). Towards an Intellectual History of Possession: Reading ‘la crise’ as a Textual Space in Vodou and André Breton’s Haitian Lectures and Nadja. Studies in Religion/ Sciences religieuses.


    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2011). Barthes, Genette, and Laferrière: Crafting and Commenting Writing in Dany Laferrière’s How to Make Love... Contemporary French and Francophone Studies.


    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2008). Narrational Devices, Discourses of Emanicipation: Frankétienne’s Les Affres d’un défi. Journal of Haitian Studies.
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (2008). Procédés narratifs, discours d’émancipation: Les Affres d’un défi de Frankétienne. In Typo/Topo/Poétique sur Frankétienne Editions l'Harmattan.


    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (editor) (2020-2023). Un/Engendering the CollectionsRethinking Gender and the Ethnographic MuseumThis special collection is conceived of by the Research Center in Material Culture (RCMC) at the National Museum of World Cultures in the Netherlands, under the aegis of Wayne Modest, and edited by Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken, Fanny Wonu Veys, and Josep Almudéver Chanzà.https://www.materialculture.nl/en/research/projects/unengendering-collections-rethinking-gender-ethnographic-museum (Event).
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (editor) (2019-2025). Journal of Haitian Studies (Journal).
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (editor) (2018-2022). Brill Caribbean Series (Publisher).
    • Benedicty-Kokken, A. (editor) (2016-2024). Villa Albertine Translation Prizes Jury (Publisher).
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
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