- AB, Harvard College
- MDiv, Vanderbilt Divinity School
- PhD, University of Chicago
Dan McKanan joined the Harvard Divinity School faculty in July 2008 as Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity, after teaching for 10 years at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University in Minnesota.
His research focuses on religious movements for social transformation in the United States from the abolitionist era to the present, with a particular emphasis on the contributions liberal and esoteric religious traditions make to sociopolitical radicalism. He also teaches and writes on Unitarian Universalist history, theology, and ethics.
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. Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition (2011), winner of the Frederic G. Melcher Book Award, is a general history of religion and the Left in the United States.
Professor McKanan is currently completing two book projects: a study of environmental initiatives inspired by Rudolf Steiner and an edited anthology of primary sources for Unitarian Universalist history.
- Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition (Beacon Press, 2011) Publisher page
- The Catholic Worker After Dorothy: Practicing the Works of Mercy in a New Generation (Liturgical Press, 2008) Publisher page
- Touching the World: Christian Communities Transforming Society (Liturgical Press, 2007)
- Identifying the Image of God: Radical Christians and Nonviolent Power in the Antebellum United States (Oxford University Press, 2002) Publisher page
- McKanan Receives 2011 Frederic G. Melcher Book Award
- Video of discussion on Dan McKanan's "Prophetic Encounters"
- 'The Dialogue of Socialism,' Harvard Divinity Bulletin
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