- AB, Harvard College
- MDiv, Vanderbilt Divinity School
- PhD, University of Chicago
Dan McKanan serves as the Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Senior Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School, where he has taught since 2008. He studies religious and spiritual movements for social transformation in the United States and beyond, with particular emphasis on environmental activism, intentional communities, and socialism. Much of his research focuses on the Unitarian Universalist tradition and the anthroposophical movement. He is the author of six books, among them Camphill and the Future: Spirituality and Disability in an Evolving Communal Movement (University of California Press, 2020), Eco-Alchemy: Anthroposophy and the History and Future of Environmentalism (University of California Press, 2017) and Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition (Beacon Press, 2011), which won the Frederic G. Melcher Book Award. He also served as lead editor of the two-volume A Documentary History of Unitarian Universalism (Skinner House Books, 2017). Earlier works explored the Catholic Worker movement and nonviolent activism in the early nineteenth century.
As Emerson Senior Lecturer, Professor McKanan is deeply involved in the formation of Unitarian Universalist ministers and professional leaders at the Divinity School, and of Unitarian Universalist scholars at Harvard and across the United States. He serves on the Unitarian Universalist Panel on Theological Education and the board of the Unitarian Universalist Studies Network, and is a past president of the Unitarian Universalist Collegium. He coordinates the Unitarian Universalist Scholars and Friends events at the American Academy of Religion, as well as regular gatherings of Unitarian Universalist emerging scholars.
Professor McKanan has also served as board chair of the International Communal Studies Association. At Harvard, he has chaired the MTS Curriculum Committee for many years, and chaired the American Studies program in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences from 2019 to 2021.
- Eco-Alchemy: Anthroposophy and the History and Future of Environmentalism (University of California Press, 2017)
- A Documentary History of Unitarian Universalism (Skinner House, 2017)
- Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition (Beacon Press, 2011)
- The Catholic Worker After Dorothy: Practicing the Works of Mercy in a New Generation (Liturgical Press, 2008)
- 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)
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- Video of discussion on Dan McKanan's Prophetic Encounters (HDS YouTube channel)
- 'The Dialogue of Socialism,' Harvard Divinity Bulletin
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