Re: [xmca] Creativity & Social Transformatio

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Sat Apr 05 2008 - 11:18:52 PDT

Welcome to the discussion, Francine.

On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 11:42 PM, larry smolucha <>

> Greetings to XMCA members from Francine Smolucha:
> I have just joined the XMCA listserve.
> Michael Cole and Vera John-Steiner know me, and my work
> as a Vygotsky translator and researcher. You can always
> do a Goggle search and get an overview of my academic work
> and my political activism (in the true Vygotskian spirit.)
> This introductory e-mail is going to be a little long, but I think it will
> be worth the reading.
> When discussing the Stetsenko & Arievitch paper on social transformation
> and the Moran & John-Steiner paper on creativity, please consider that the
> work of the LCHD represents only one Western approach to Vygotskian
> theory.
> In 1984, I pioneered the translation and reconstruction of Vygotsky's
> theory
> of creativity. The Moran & John-Steiner paper cites my work (although the
> 1970 citation is incorrect - that is not one of my publications - I was in
> High School
> in 1970.) From the beginning (1984) my interpretation of Vygotsky's theory
> did
> not fit the mainstream view being put forth by the leading American
> authorities
> on Vygotsky - the mainstream view that emphasized problem-solving and
> completely overlooked creativity, imagination, emotional regulation,
> social
> cognition and moral reasoning. Never-the-less, my husband Larry and I
> were able to publish some 40 papers in Europe and in the USA on Vygotsky's
> theory (my translations and our research.)
> Together, Larry and I formulated "Synergistic Psychology" which is a
> dynamic
> synthesis of Vygotskian, Freudian, Piagetian, and Behaviorist theories.
> We even wrote (and taught) from our own life-span human development
> textbook:
> A Synergistic Approach to Development Across the Life-Span.
> [The Vygotsky-Luria theory of neurology had already provided the model for
> contemporary
> neuroscience investigations of consciously directed activity (by means of
> prefrontal
> functioning.) It was only a matter of time before someone realized the new
> brain
> imaging techniques like the functional MRI could be used to investigate
> the
> "executive" function of the prefrontal areas of the frontal lobe.]
> In regard to Vygotskian theory and the "newly evolving perspective on
> science as culture" (Stetsenko & Arievitch), perhaps news to some people,
> but old news to
> those of us who were schooled in Thomas Kuhn's 1962 book "The Structure of
> Scientific Revolutions."
> And, a big yes to Vygotskian theory as a theory of social transformation.
> Particularly, in regard to the social construction of words and discourse
> that shape political processes, and interpersonal and intrapersonal
> dynamics.
> At this point, you might be wondering "Who the heck is Francine Smolucha?"
> Ph.D. in Educational Psychology University of Chicago (1991) - mentored by
> Dr. Jacob Getzels. I just retired after spending thirty years as a
> professor
> at a community college in Illinois. But the intersting thing about that
> particular community
> college is that it serves the largest Palestinian population in the world
> outside the
> Middle East.
> So here's a real world problem (of great urgency) for the Vygotskian
> Theory of
> Creative Social Transformation: How do we formulate the words and the
> discourse
> to create a culture of peace (that will take us beyond the polarizing and
> vindictive
> platitudes of radical religious sects and political extremists)?
> We are actually making progress doing just that. You might Google Spirit
> Magazine
> for the Diverse Woman whose President/Founder is a Palestinian Muslim
> American
> woman from the "south side" of Chicago. I serve on the Advisory Board for
> Spirit Magazine
> (which has over one million paid subscribers internationally.)
> In closing, I would like to tell Vera John-Steiner that I am sorry she
> has been ill and
> I wish her a speedy recovery. It has been a long time since we met for
> coffee in Amsterdam
> in 2002. World (and local events) necessitated that I apply my Vygotskian
> perspective
> to "collaborative social transformation."
> Regards to all from, Francine Smolucha
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Received on Sat Apr 5 11:21 PDT 2008

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