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Manuel Luis Espinoza

Associate Professor, Educational Foundations



I am a child of desegregation (Keyes v. Denver School District No. 1, 1973) and a Chicano ethnographer and philosopher of education working in the scholarly tradition that emerged during the 20th century struggle against racism in the U.S. The labor in this historical vineyard consists of linking social scientific research to everyday struggles for justice and dignity. Historically, this particular line of social science has worked to provide the law with intellectual and empirical resources to perceive social life anew. To illustrate, consider the contributions of social scientists in landmark cases such as Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954, 1955), Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), and Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003). Presently, I am developing three interconnected strands of research: 1) the historical study of the reading, writing and reasoning practices of African Americans and Chicanas/os; 2) the empirical study of the human developmental consequences of lettered- and numbered-learning over the life course; and 3) the ethnographic study of talk, interaction and learning in classroom settings and its relation to civil rights.

My students at the University of Colorado Denver:

My greatest source of joy comes from working closely with learners - high school students, undergraduates, doctoral candidates - and helping them acquire and refine a powerful repertoire of scholarly tools that they can bring to bear on salient educational questions and issues.

Courses Taught:

  • Equality, Rights, and Education: Segregation, Desegregation, & Resegregation - EDFN 1000
  • Migration, Modernity and Literacy - UNHL 3620
  • Introduction to Ethnography of Education: Social Interactional Studies of Learning - EDFN 7830

Research Interests:

  • Migrant Education
  • Anthropology of Education
  • Philosophy of education
  • Learning
  • Civil Rights

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