Re: [xmca] The Lingering Blight of the Cold War

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Sat Sep 15 2007 - 06:59:34 PDT

I am unsure if the issue of current anti-marxism/anti-communism operates as
you suggest in this note David. But they are certainly a part of the issues
you raise are certainly part of the historical
context for interpretation and appropriations of cultural
historical/activity theory. I'll try to solicit some views from people who
might be able to contribute to this aspect of the issue.

Concerning the question of historical inquiry discussed here recently. I
think that networks of references and cross-references over time to the
works of LSV and others would be interesting. But
what I *think* Cathrene had in mind initially and what I had in mind in
supporting her would require inquiry into the content of the publications
and attempts at historical reconstruction of a broader

We will see what arises.

On 9/14/07, David Kellogg <> wrote:
> I think both Professor Bruner's note and Eric's query about Marxism point
> us to an underdiscussed matter that is in many ways of more immediate
> relevance than, say, the effect of Stalinism on Vygotsky's legacy: the
> lingering curse of the Cold War on attempts to understand and carry on LSV's
> program.
> CASE ONE: Outright Censorship. Everybody knows by now that the first
> translation of "Thought and Language" by Hanfmann and Vakar deleted all
> references Marx, Engels, and Lenin. As result, the impression given of
> conceptual development is one of almost Piagetian stages--and this is
> exactly what Vygotsky was attempting to avoid. (I think THIS was the real
> significance of the publication of "Mind in Society"; it made it possible to
> re-read "Thinking and Speech" for the first time.)
> CASE TWO: "Scaffolding". Bruner describes how Soviet psychologists
> presented Vygotsky's ideas under the cover of Pavlov's in the form of a
> "second signal system". But how much greater (or at least more long-lasting)
> a distortion came from Bruner's own presentation of the Zone of Proximal
> Development as "scaffolding"! (Mike has done a great deal to redress this
> problem though!)
> CASE THREE: The "Bakhtin" Circle. I just got a very jolly letter from
> Gisele in Brazil (who I fervently hope will join us on these pages). She's
> doing a doctorate and she's EXTREMELY well read--well read enough to
> appreciate all the abstruse Paulhan stuff I sent her. But she never actually
> heard that the book which Ana Paula Cortez recently referred to as "The
> Philosophy of Language" was written by V.N. Volosinov.
> Yes, I know that Michael Holquist insists, without any material
> evidence, that Bakhtin is the author. But the question is why? Of course
> Bakhtin was the one who lived to tell the tale of these amazing men, and he
> was probably not averseto taking credit for a lot of the work of the
> so-called "Bakhtin Circle" (if that is what it really WAS called, which I
> rather doubt). After all, he took credit for the courses his brother took at
> Petersburg University, from which Bakhtin never graduated. But being the
> only non-Marxist of the so-called "Bakhtin Circle", Bakhtin was also the
> only one who is qualified to be called a genius today.
> Much has been made of the "totalitarian" atmosphere under which these
> great men worked and how it blighted their lives and works. But what about
> the lingering nightblindness of anti-communism in our OWN work?
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> ---------------------------------
> Yahoo! oneSearch: Finally, mobile search that gives answers, not web
> links.
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list
Received on Sat Sep 15 07:02 PDT 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Oct 08 2007 - 06:02:26 PDT