Dr. Harper Keenan

Robert Quartermain Professor of Gender and Sexuality Research in Education

Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy

Broadly, Dr. Keenan’s research analyzes how adults teach children to make sense of the social world. Much of his work investigates the management, or scripting, of children’s knowledge, and ways that educators and their students might work together to interrupt that process and imagine something different.


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Dr. Harper B. Keenan is the Robert Quartermain Professor of Gender and Sexuality Research in Education at the University of British Columbia. Before coming to UBC in 2019, Dr. Keenan was a postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, where he also earned his PhD in Curriculum and Teacher Education in 2019. Dr. Keenan completed his undergraduate studies at The New School in New York City, and earned a Master’s Degree from the Bank Street College of Education. He is a proud former New York City elementary school teacher.

Broadly, Dr. Keenan’s research analyzes how adults teach children to make sense of the social world. Much of his work investigates the management, or scripting, of children’s knowledge, and ways that educators and their students might work together to interrupt that process and imagine something different. Dr. Keenan is interested in those social issues that many adults find difficult to talk about with children – things like racism, gender, sexuality, and violence. He is perhaps best known for his 2017 article in the Harvard Educational Review, “Unscripting Curriculum: Toward a Critical Trans Pedagogy.”

Today, Dr. Keenan’s research projects center around two themes:

  1. The interaction of colonialism, race, and gender in schools – particularly in early childhood and elementary education, and
  2. The continued development of anti-racist queer and trans pedagogies.

Dr. Keenan’s work has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals and popular press outlets, including the Harvard Educational Review, Teacher’s College Record, Gender and Education, Theory and Research in Social Education, Slate, The Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, and multiple edited volumes.

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