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Critical Urban Education (CUE) Speaker Series: Dr. Harper Keenan

Posted in: College News and Events

CUE Speaker Series, Dr. Harper Keenan

The Critical Urban Education (CUE) Speaker Series hosted an event featuring Dr. Harper Keenan on November 29th, 2022. The evening was opened by PerSia, educator and Drag Story Hour performer, who graced the Zoom stage with a Drag performance and read aloud of the book, It Feels Good to be Yourself. In Dr. Keenan’s lecture entitled, Boxed In: Trans Life and the Struggle for Self-Determination at School, he spoke about the conditions currently facing trans and gender non-conforming children and teachers in PK-12 public schools, and what those conditions reveal about the role of school in society. He shared how the current anti-trans legislation works in conjunction with other oppressive forces in schools such as the pushback against Critical Race Theory. He offered insights into how schools serve to teach the public about the social meaning of gender, including how gender interacts with race. Dr. Keenan drew from his research with trans educators as well as research with gender non-conforming students and ultimately highlighted spaces that were inclusive of students of all gender identities. In his closing, Dr. Keenan called for educators to ask themselves these questions:

  • What is the function of gender in your classroom?
  • How does gender create or limit possibilities for your students’ lives?
  • How does gender interact with other systems of social sorting, like race, class, and dis/ability?
  • What kinds of learning opportunities can you create with your students to study and transform the conditions of gender at school and in their lives outside it?

This event was free and open to the public. ASL interpretation was provided.

The Critical Urban Education (CUE) Speaker Series is a bi-annual event bringing leading national scholars to Montclair State University. CUE provides a forum to develop attendees’ racial and political analysis through a series of lectures and workshops focused on social and cultural issues influencing urban schools and communities. Please join us for our next CUE event on March 2nd with Author Renée Watson and students from the Newark Board of Education.

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Learn more and watch previous talks

The CUE Speaker Series is co-sponsored by the Dean’s Office of the College of Education and Human Services, a Teacher Quality Pipeline USDOE Grant, the Department of Teaching and Learning, the Center of Pedagogy, and the Montclair State University Network for Educational Renewal.