Dr. Harper B. Keenan was appointed as the inaugural Robert Quartermain Professor of Gender & Sexuality in Education at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education in 2019. In that role, he serves as the faculty director of SOGI UBC. His work has been accepted at peer-reviewed academic journals like the Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, Curriculum Inquiry, Theory & Research in Social Education, Teaching Education, and Gender & Education.
Dr. Keenan is primarily interested in critical pedagogy. Spanning multiple disciplines, his scholarship analyzes what schooling, curriculum, and pedagogy teach children about how society is organized. Dr. Keenan’s work investigates the management - or scripting - of children and childhood, and ways that educators and their students might work together to interrupt that process and imagine something different.
These interests emerge directly from Dr. Keenan's experiences as a teacher. After studying social and historical inquiry in an interdisciplinary program at The New School, Dr. Keenan became an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, where he quickly began to learn about the complexities of talking about history & contemporary social life with young children.
For more than a decade, Dr. Keenan has worked with programs in early childhood, elementary, and secondary teacher education. He has designed courses on critical pedagogy with young children, history and social science education, curriculum theory and development, equity and schooling, transformative justice, dis/ability and access in the classroom, collaboration with families and service providers, and building classroom communities.
Dr. Keenan earned a doctorate from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2019. He is currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he lives and works on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-waututh) peoples. Although he has spent most of his adult life in big cities, Dr. Keenan grew up in a rural community in Western Maryland (USA). He moved to New York City to attend college, where he earned a B.A. in Social and Historical Inquiry from Eugene Lang College at The New School, and a dual M.S. in Childhood General and Special Education from Bank Street College. As an elementary school teacher, Dr. Keenan taught kindergarten, first, and fourth grades in special education inclusion classrooms in New York City, including at Community Roots in Brooklyn. In his spare time, he loves spending time outside and watching films, theater, and performance art.