Relocating the Laboratory:
40 Years of Collaborative Research on Culture


Sylvia Scribner Award Address
AERA Denver, Colorado
May 2nd, 2010
Michael Cole, Ray McDermott, Luis Moll,
Denis Newman, Olga Vásquez, Katherine  Brown, Robert  Lecusay

Slide 1

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Michael Cole: Origins of the Lab

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Relocating Psychology, Culture & Society

                    Intellectual Foundations:
                    Paradoxes of Cross Cultural Research: Subjects are not assigned to culture at random,
so experiments suspect.
                    Institutional Foundations:
                    Practical need for a place to create democratic collaborations along multiple
demographic dimensions.

                    For both theoretical and practical reasons, increasing diversity to disassemble binary oppositions became a                                             central need.   


Slide 2

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Ray McDermott: Rockefeller Years

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Diss-locating Experiments:

                    A. Ecological validity
                           1. Social relations vs. focus on “the task”
                               a. People organize the conditions of everyday problem solving
                                b. Tests require responding  without social resources to “pre-pared” tasks

                    B. Use language data from home and community as materials for experiments and data for comparison

                    C. Vygotksy and cultural mediation enter the scene   


Slide 3

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Luis Moll: Cultural Resources

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                    Re-locating the Institutional organization of teaching:

                    Unmasking the causes of reading failure of bilingual children in school arrangements and erroneous                                                             pedagogical theories.

                    Revealing early literacy in the home:

                    Participation in literacy events found to be ubiquitous across ethnic and social class boundaries. The start of the                                         emergent literacy movement.

                    Re-locating collaborations and education by using the emerging internet. 


Slide 4

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Denis Newman

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Locating “the Task” in Laboratories and Classrooms

                    Can we find problem isomorphs across different lesson organizations of a 3-4th grade classroom?

                    Discovering the tradeoffs between attributing problem solving to individuals and goal discovery in the context                                     of social resources.
                    Re-locating cognitive change outside the individual and the limitation of laboratory methods in education.


Slide 5

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Olga Vásquez : Expanding/transforming afterschool programs

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Relocating to Local Afterschool and University-Community Collaborations

                    Creating ideal environment to promote development of Mexicano children

                    Design of multi-generational pipelines to college

                    Diversity of multi-institutional collaborations among researchers across language,
                    ethnic, national, and social borders.

                    Uptake & sustainability become central criteria of success

Slide 6

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Katherine Brown: Relocating work

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                    Re-newing to focus on work settings:

                    Engeström & Development at Work: historicity,  collective forgetting & work place change in
                    medical, legal and university settings

                    Re-searching theory:

                    Combining Vygotsky, Leontiev, Dewey, Mehan, Lave, Rogoff -> CHAT

                    Re-taining a network


Slide 7

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Robert Lecusay: LCHC Today

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Re-locating Activities

                    Adult-child fantasy play worlds as media for intergenerational development.

                    Re-connecting emotion, cognition, & development; making perezhivanie visible & palpable

                    Re-considering the process of intervention: from design experiments to mutual appropriation

                    No predesigned object—create jointly with community – Mutual Appropriation


Slide 8

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Un-located Topics


Newsletter of the Lab and Mind, Culture, and Activity

The immense contribution of visitors from other countries


Top row (left to right): Bill Blanton, Denis Newman, Ray McDermott, Deborah Downing-Wilson, Honorine Nocon, Hugh "Bud" Mehan, Katherine Brown (behind Bud), Robert Rueda, Margaret Riel, Mike Cole, Juanita Cole. Bottom row (left to right): Beth Ferholt, Virginia Gordon, Robert Lecusay, Olga Vásquez, Noah Finkelstein

Slide 9

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Visitors to LCHC Website 4/1 – 4/24/10


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