Wright Kennedy is an assistant professor of history at the University of South Carolina.  His primary areas of interest include the integration of spatial perspectives into the study of nineteenth-century health, communities, and environments. While earning his master’s degree in geography from California State University, Long Beach, he specialized in geographic information sciences and spatial analysis. His master’s thesis used historical geographic information systems (HGIS) to uncover the spatial origins and spreading patterns of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic in Memphis, Tennessee. From 2012 to 2015 he served as the project manager for the imagineRio project at Rice University. He earned a doctorate in history from Rice University. Subsequently, he led the Mapping Historical New York project from 2018 to 2021 at Columbia University. MHNY examines the development of immigrant communities and the urban ecology of the city between 1850 and 1940.

His book project, tentatively titled “Separate but Dead: A Spatial History of Segregation, Environments, and Diseases in New Orleans, 1880–1915,”  uses HGIS to argue that segregationist efforts not only constructed a system of social and economic oppression (Jim Crow), but these efforts created a deeply embedded system of oppression at the intersection of disease, environment, and landscape. This research is a component of the larger New Orleans Mortality Project. NOMP will develop a public-facing spatial history project that visualizes the spatial and temporal patterns of disease and socioeconomics at the individual, neighborhood, and community levels to reveal how health, environment, and socioeconomics impact urban and community development.


August 2021Mapping Historical New York City: A Digital Atlas launched. Watch the launch event here:

May 2017 – Rice Magazine included the New Orleans Mortality Project in the featured article, “Mapping the Questions.”

March 2017Southern Spaces published “The Potential of Historical GIS and Spatial Analysis in the Humanities,” part of Emory University’s “MAP IT | Little Dots, Big Ideas” lecture series