"The first professor specializing in contemporary Southeast
Asia at Yale University was Raymond Kennedy, a charismatic, square-jawed
man with the short hair and intent eyes of a Marine colonel. Kennedy
graduated from Yale College in 1928 and for three years sold American
automobiles in what was then the Netherlands East Indies. When
the economic depression dried up the market, he came back to Yale
for a Ph.D. in sociology and throughout the 1930s as graduate
student and junior professor was often in Southeast Asia. During
World War II as an intelligence analyst in the OSS (Office of
Strategic Services) and the State Department, he was a blunt and
prescient critic of the British, French, and Dutch colonial empires.
Kennedy returned to New Haven in 1946 and became one of Yale's
popular, outspoken, iconoclastic*
teachers. The central theme of his teaching was that 'the caste
line of oppression and exploitation, whether in America or the
colonies, is a race and color line.'
Kennedy was the driving force behind the creation in 1947 of
the Council on Southeast Asian Studies, Yale's first inter-disciplinary
area studies program and the prototype for programs which would
eventually focus on all regions of the world.
In 1949 Kennedy embarked on a 15-month research trip throughout
Southeast Asia to study the interaction of western and local cultures.
In April 1950 he was murdered in western Java along with Robert
Doyle, a Time-Life reporter, when their jeep was ambushed by an
armed band. The killers were never identified. Kennedy would not
have reached retirement age until 1976. With his death the United
States and Yale lost an informed voice of conscience."
- Gaddis Smith (1999), "Yale and the Vietnam War," University
Seminar on the History of Columbia University,
paper presented October 19, 1999 (quoted with permission of
the author) View
*See William F. Buckley / Raymond Kennedy / origins of God
and Man at Yale
Arnsdorf and Victor Zapana, Yale Daily News 2/28/08
Tanenhaus | Yale Alumni Magazine, May/Jun 2008
also: Raymond Kennedy, "Professor Kennedy Praises Work of
Truman Civil Rights Committee,"
Dialy News 10/31/47
"Between 1932 and 1947, Kennedy built up at Yale a one-man
center for Southeast Asian Studies. This was begun with work on
a collection of books on Indonesia already in Yale Libary. In
connection with this documentary aspect of his work, he assisted
in assembling data on Southeast Asia for the Yale Cross Cultural
Survey; he also compiled an extensive bibliography on the peoples
and cultures of Indonesia which was published in 1945. During
the same period he wrote books and numerous articles on Indonesia
and inaugurated at Yale a graduate seminar in the field. All these
efforts bore fruit in 1947 in the creation of a Southeast Asian
area and language studies program at Yale, with a five-year Carnegie
grant totaling $150,000.
".......(At Yale) he was not only a pioneer in Southeast
Asia studies, but also an able and popular lecturer in undergraduate
courses in anthropology and sociology. Because of his vivid descriptions
of life in the forests of Malaya, the undergraduates gave him
the nickname of 'Jungle Jim.'
".......(Kennedy) was a man of deep convictions concerning
human welfare and the complex problems of man living at peace
with his fellows. In view of his attitude toward social problems
and human welfare, it is indeed ironical that he should have met
his death by violence in a country for whose independence he had
argued so strenuously......Everyone who has worked long with Raymond
Kennedy as a student or as colleague has become richer for it;
we have all lost a part of ourselves in his death."
- John Embree (1950), "Raymond Kennedy, 1906-1950,"
The Far Eastern Quarterly, Vol. 10,No. 2 (February 1951),
Raymond Kennedy was born on 11 December 1906 in Holyoke,
Massachusetts, and died on 27 April 1950 near Tomo, West Java.
He was educated at the Hartford Public High School and Trinity
College. He was an instructor and professor of Sociology at Yale
from 1935 through his death. Kennedy and an associate were held
up and shot while on a research trip to Java. He is buried in
the Christian Cemetery, Bandoeng, Central Java, where a bronze
plaque given by members of the Yale faculty was erected.
- Guide to the Raymond Kennedy Papers, Yale University Library,
Manuscripts and Archives.*
Americans Are Found Slain On Jeep Journey in Central Java; One
Victim Is R.J. Doyle of Time Magazine The
Other Is Believed to Be Professor Raymond Kennedy of Yale"
THE NEW YORK TIMES April 29, 1950, Section , Page 3.
Writer, Yale Professor Are Found Murdered In Java," A.P.,
Jakarta, U.S.I. View
Professor and Newsman Murdered in Remote Section of Indonesia,"
THE DAY, New London, April 27, 1950
"Indonesia Deplores Killing
of Kennedy and Companion; Relentless Probe Started: THE DAY, New
London, April 29. 1950
Kennedy, Murder Victim Buried in Java," THE DAY, New London,
May 1, 1950
Kennedy Passport, 1947 view
*Raymond Kennedy papers
Sterling Memorial Library
Papers accumulated by Yale Sociology professor Raymond Kennedy and
relating to his research in Southeast Asia. Collection primarily
comprises writings, maps, photographs, field trip notes, and other
research materials documenting Kennedy's work in Southeast Asia,
particularly in Indonesia. Among the writings, some of which are
in Dutch and Indonesian, are articles and speeches by Kennedy, memoranda
written for the U.S. State Department, and writings by others about
Southeast Asia. The collection also includes notes and drafts for
Kennedy's unpublished four-volume work, Peoples and Cultures of
Indonesia, and notes, photographs, recordings, and maps from the
Indonesian field trip during which he was killed. Finally, teaching
materials from Kennedy's work with the Staff Officers School for
Strategic Studies during the Second World War and from other schools
are included. The materials are in English, Dutch, and Indonesian