Jennifer Adair

Photo of faculty member Jennifer K Adair
Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Office: SZB 4.804D
View Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Jennifer Keys Adair, PhD is Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and the Director of the Agency and Young Children Research Collective at The University of Texas at Austin. A trained cultural anthropologist and former preschool teacher, Using video-cued ethnography, Dr. Adair works with young children, teachers, parents and administrators to understand how racism and white supremacy impact the learning experiences of young children. Dr. Adair focuses on the importance of agency for children’s capability expansion as well as ways to locate/measure agency to overcome the overly-controlled schooling environments many children of color experience, even in the early years of school. Dr. Adair is a former Young Scholars Fellow with the Foundation for Child Development and recently completed a major Spencer Foundation study on civic agency in preschool classrooms. Dr. Adair is the author of the book, Segregation by Experience: Agency, Racism and Early Learning (The University of Chicago Press, 2021; Awarded the Council on Anthropology and Education 2021 Outstanding Book Award) with Dr. Kiyomi Sánchez-Suzuki Colegrove.

Dr. Adair has published in numerous journals including Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, Race, Ethnicity and Education, Young Children, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, and Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. She currently serves on multiple, national editorial and advisory boards, and lectures in multiple countries. In addition to academic conferences, Jennifer has spoken at SXSW and Blackademics on why white parents need to talk to their children about racism and white supremacy. Jennifer’s work and expertise can be found in a variety of media Washington Post, NPR, New America, Code Switch, Huffington Post, Edweek, The Conversation, Chicago Register and the Migration Policy Institute and NAEYC’s recent equity statement.