GSE Events

Without Definition: Trans Knowledge, Political Imagination, and the Practical Work of Education

2019-04-03 21:30 2019-04-03 21:30 15 Penn GSE Event: Without Definition: Trans Knowledge, Political Imagination, and the Practical Work of Education Jax Lastinger DD/MM/YYYY
Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 5:30pm
Penn LGBT Center

Join Penn students, faculty, staff & community members in celebrating Trans Day of Visibility this year by attending a talk by trans scholar Dr. Harper Keenan. This talk will explore the value of trans knowledge in the field of education. Join us on April 3rd at 5:30 in the Penn LGBT Center for a reception and dinner, followed by Dr. Keenan's virtual talk at 6PM. 

Without Definition: Trans Knowledge, Political Imagination, and the Practical Work of Education

What might trans knowledge have to offer to the practical work of education? For generations, trans people have found ways of imagining themselves into being, and building community without a precise definition of what exactly it means to be "trans." Here, trans knowledge may offer a way into imagining a world without strict borders, without policing, and without scripted definition. At the same time, trans life in North America illustrates the violent and otherwise precarious conditions that can come with resisting administrative control, especially for trans people who belong to especially vulnerable populations (e.g. queer people, people of color, disabled people, youth, migrants, and refugees). Many educators work in positions of administrative control, but classrooms offer a possible space for imagining a more just society into being. In this talk, I argue that trans knowledge can support educators in resisting education as a way of defining the world, reaching instead toward classroom communities that cultivate political imagination. 

Dr. Harper Keenan's Biography:

Harper B. Keenan is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Leadership in Teacher Education at the Stanford University Teacher Education Program. Harper earned a doctorate from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in January 2019. Next September, he will join the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. He will be the inaugural Quartermain Professor of Gender & Sexuality Research in Education, as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy.  Harper's work examines the social curriculum of childhood.  His primary goals as an academic are to help shape the teaching and learning of young children and their educators, and to shift public thinking about children and childhood. Harper believes in pedagogies that engage young students in meaningful and rigorous inquiry driven by social experience. Broadly, Harper's research interests include anti-racist queer/trans pedagogies, history and social science education, curriculum studies, critical pedagogy, early childhood and elementary education, and teacher education. 

Read more about Dr. Harper Keenan here: 

This event is in celebration of Trans Day of Visibility. Read more about this holiday here (, and find out more about what you can do to support trans people as an educator here ( 

This event is organized in collaboration with Penn GSE's Office of Student Services and Penn GSE's OutEd. Any questions, concerns, and suggestions can be directed to Penn GSE OSS's Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, Jax Lastinger. You can contact Jax via email:

If you are no longer able to attend this workshop, please let Jax Lastinger ( know as soon as possible.


Event Audience: 
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Student Programming
Lifelong Learning
Professional/Career Development
Diversity/Inclusion/Social Justice
Community Programming

Event Contact

Jax Lastinger