Dan McKanan

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Daniel Patrick McKanan (4 May 1967 - )

McKanan was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Norma and Arthur Buchanan along with siblings Matthew, Mark, and Sarah.

He graduated from North Middlesex Regional High School in Townsend, Massachusetts, and received his A. B. in Religion at Harvard College in 1989. In 1993, he received his M. Div. from Vanderbilt University and in 1998 earned his Ph. D. from the University of Chicago, writing his dissertation on Identifying the Image of God: A Theology of Nonviolent Power in the Antebellum United States.

In 2001, McKanan married the former Tammy McKenna, and they spliced their last names together to make McKanan. Their daughter is Oriana McKanan.

McKanan presently is the Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity. A Unitarian Universalist who identifies as being a liberal Christian, he joined the Harvard Divinity School faculty in July 2008 as Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity.

Before coming to Harvard, he served as department chair and associate professor of theology at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University, where he began teaching in 1998. McKanan studied religious movements for social transformation in the United States from the abolitionist era to the present.

His first book, Identifying the Image of God: Radical Christians and Nonviolent Power in the Antebellum United States (2002), explores theological understandings of violence and nonviolence among abolitionists, pacifists, and temperance activists.

Touching the World: Christian Communities Transforming Society (2007) and The Catholic Worker After Dorothy: Practicing the Works of Mercy in a New Generation (2008) deal with the Camphill and Catholic Worker networks of intentional communities.

McKanan's current book project, tentatively entitled "Prophetic Encounters," is a general history of the religious left in the United States.

Academic Honors

Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology, 2004–2005
Dissertation Fellow, Pew Program in Religion and American History, 1997-98
Junior Fellow, Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion, 1996-97
Century Fellow, University of Chicago Divinity School, 1993-96 - Dissertation approved with Distinction, 1998
Qualifying Exams passed with Distinction, 1996
Harold S. Vanderbilt Scholar, Vanderbilt Divinity School, 1990-93
Elliot F. Shepard Prize in Church History, 1993
John H. Ness Prize of the UMC Commission on Archives and History, 1993
A.B. summa cum laude, Harvard College, 1989
Phi Beta Kappa, Harvard College, 1988

Teaching Experience

Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity, Harvard Divinity School, 2008-
Associate Professor and Department Chair, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, 1998-2008
Adjunct Lecturer, Catholic Theological Union, 1997


The McKanans currently live in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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