Agency and Social Transformation: Increasing Equity in Education and Beyond (Spring, 2016)

Anna Stetsenko (Graduate Center, Psychology/Urban Education) and Eduardo Vianna (Social Sciences, LaGuardia Community College) 

PSYC 80103, Spring 2016, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Crosslisted as: IDS 81630 and Urban Education 75200

Tuesdays, 4:15-6:15PM, 3 credits


The role of agency and agentive positioning in knowledge production and teaching-learning processes remains highly contested across major frameworks at the intersection of education and human development.

This course will examine a broad spectrum of approaches – from critical pedagogy and constructivism to learning-as-participation and activist learning – in terms of how they address agency at both individual and collective levels of social dynamics. One of the angles will be to critically address how conceptions about agency in the context of culture and society find their way into the practices of teaching and learning.The goal is to set the stage for teaching-learning in ways that overcome the ethos of adaptation and transmission models to instead provide the tools for learners’ agentive positioning as creators and co-contributors to knowledge production and learning within the dynamics of social transformation in classrooms and beyond. In capitalizing on social transformation and activist agency, this exploration will interrogate responsibilities that various models and epistemologies embody and target templates for overcoming taken-for-granted norms, biases, power differentials, and inequalities.

See this article that Professors Stetsenko and Vianna co-authored titled “Research with a Transformative Activist Agenda: Creating the Future Through Education for Social Change


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309