UW Graduate School

Engaging with Microaggressions & Macroassaults: Equity in Praxis

2018 Course: Engaging with Microaggressions & Macroassaults: Equity in Praxis

This interdisciplinary course seeks to equip participants to critically engage with microaggressions and macroassaults – both the everyday insults and hostilities as well as the structural, large-scale policies and practices that perpetuate the oppression of marginalized populations. Inspired by Paulo Freire’s notion of praxis (the intersection of reflection and action), the course will work to empower participants to address, interrupt, and confront these forces in their personal and professional lives.

Instructors: Gino Aisenberg, Ph.D., M.S.W. and Saejin Kwak Tanguay M.Ed.

Saejin Kwak Tanguay 1

Saejin Kwak Tanguay is a Ph.D. candidate in Multicultural Education at the University of Washington’s College of Education. Her research focuses on how educational contexts impact cross-racial and cross-ethnic relations among students, and how these peer relations impact the educational experiences and trajectories of historically marginalized populations. She is interested in how policies and their implementation, curricula, and pedagogical practices can create contexts that encourage cross-racial/ethnic friendships and coalition building.

What does the course offer?  Engaging with Microagressions & Macroassaults: Equity in Praxis is unique in that it offers an explicitly interdisciplinary space for faculty, staff and graduate students to talk about equity and justice. For some, this course fills a much-needed gap in the curriculum of their respective departments. For others, it is a chance to reach across disciplinary boundaries to access other perspectives while sharing their own. This class offers participants the opportunity to build community with others who care deeply about these issues and are invested in making our campus, our city and our world a more equitable and just place.

How does this course create change?  Disciplinary and departmental lines can be hard to cross. It is rare for someone in the social sciences to cross paths with someone from the laboratory sciences, for example, let alone have meaningful conversations with them about equity. This course helps build bridges across departmental lines and integrate these networks: thus allowing people to better harness the resources, knowledge and diversity of perspectives each individual brings and use this knowledge to build coalitions for change.

What is Praxis?  Praxis is just a fancy word for “practice” that results from critical reflection and contains the explicit goal of transformation. Without praxis, social change and transformation cannot happen. This course will provide the space for this type of critical reflection, and help participants strategize for how their personal and professional lives can be oriented towards transformation of unjust structures, practices, and interactions.


2018 Diversity Course Reading List

More to Come

Be sure to check here for more information about the course!

Past Courses

2015-16 Course: Engaging Oppression, Transgressions, and Microaggressions

This course series is centered in the diverse and common experiences, strengths, and needs of multicultural and marginalized communities. Through participation in varied activities, including readings, guest presentations, facilitated discussions, small group work and other dynamic learning we will gain 1) a deepening critical understanding of historical and structural factors that perpetuate oppression and exclusion, including privilege, and transgressions and microaggressions and 2) skills of engagement and dialogue to promote inclusion and justice.


Engaging Jim Crow Education: Who is Allowed to Learn and Why?

Joy Williamson-Lott

Speaker: Dr. Joy Williamson-Lott, professor for History of Education at the University of Washington’s College of Education and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs.



Engaging Homelessness: Policy and Advocacy

Graham PrussPanelists: Graham Pruss, doctoral student studying Sociocultural Anthropology in the University of Washington’s Anthropology Department, and Pat Lemus, manager of the King County Veterans Program.