Espinoza, Manuel

Manuel Espinoza PhD

Associate Professor
  • School of Education & Human Development


Primary Phone:303-315-4994

Mailing Address:
  • CU Denver

Lawrence Street Center

1380 Lawrence Street

Denver, CO 80204

I am a child of desegregation (Keyes v. Denver School District No. 1, 1973) and a Chicano ethnographer 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 a just society. Historically, this line of social science has provided 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 (1954), Loving v. Virginia (1967), and Grutter v. Bollinger (2003). With my Right to Learn Undergraduate Research Collective, founded in 2007, I am developing two interconnected strands of research: 1) an inquiry into the historical and legal origins of educational rights; 2) a social interactional method for studying the manifestations of dignity in educational activity.

Areas of Expertise

  • Learning
  • Dignity
  • Sociogenesis of Mind
  • History of Civil Rights in the U.S.

Education, Licensure & Certifications

Ph.D. (Education) University of California, Los Angeles


  • 2018-2019, University of Colorado Denver, ThinqStudio Digital Pedagogy Fellowship
  • 2017, The Spencer Foundation, Discretionary Grant, Developing the Concept of Educational Dignity: Examining the Highlander Folk School Audio Archives
  • 2017, University of Colorado Denver, Office of Research Services, Understanding the Concept of Dignity in Four Landmark Cases: Creating a Handbook of Usage and Meaning, 2004-present
  • 2012-2013, National Academy of Education & The Spencer Foundation, Postdoctoral Fellowship