Professor Barry Keenan taught East Asian history for 38 years at Denison, retiring in June of 2014. Soon after arriving at Denison in 1976 he traveled to Shanghai to interpret and negotiate a contract for regular study abroad programs for small liberal arts colleges that were thereafter run by The Council on International Educational Exchange. After tenure he received a grant from the National Academy of Sciences in Washington to spend a year researching his second book while attached to the Department of History of the University of Nanjing. For twenty years he taught an advanced course at Denison on The Confucian Classics in which the pedagogical techniques of classical Confucian academies informed the course design. He also taught a research course on The Cold War in East Asia.
He is a specialist on Chinese cultural and social history. His first book was The Dewey Experiment in China: Educational Reform and Political Power in the Early Republic. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University East Asian Research Center, 1977. His second book was Imperial China’s Last Classical Academies: Social Change in the Lower Yangzi, 1864-1911. Berkeley: University of California East Asian Institute, 1994. And his third book was Neo-Confucian Self-Cultivation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2011. His twenty articles and encyclopedia entries include, “Academies (shuyuan) [1800-present]. The Encyclopedia of Modern China. David Pong, Editor in Chief. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2009; and “Economic Markets and Higher Education: Ethical Issues in the United States and China,” Frontiers of Education in China, 9(1) March, 2014: 63–88.