[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] Re: literacy? and its meanings: future of LCHC

Larry, I found this 1984 report "LCHC: A Program of Research and Training in Cultural Psychology" very helpful for understanding the genesis of LCHC.


- Steve

On Dec 22, 2009, at 10:46 AM, Larry Purss wrote:

I also want to draw attention to the term "meso" as an intermediate term between micro and macro. I consider architecture to be a particular and profound example of human artifacts which express human ideality (Bruner's "Possible Worlds") When you mention that LCHC is on life support I wonder and reflect (I love the term "reverie") on how LCHC has evolved for the last 40 years and that architecture as shared space (or place) was foundational to its existence.. Architecture is a crystallization of reverie, artifacts, and social relations. To understand the historical impact of LCHC at the meso level is central to reflecting on next steps.

I don't know the politics of how LCHC was created and was able to continue throughout the following decades. I also don't know the current forces aligned against the vision of LCHC. However I personally believe the narrative power of LCHC and the impact it has had on pedagogy, psychology, communications, anthropology, cultural studies and other literate discourses is profound and can be articulated. As an alternative narrative in the current cultural wars it may be possible to project this vision into the mass media and for LCHC to be recognized as a center of excellence as Obama searches for new models.

Looking to the future and ways to support the continuity of LCHC I wonder if there is a continued need for reverie and considerations of action not at the individual level but rather at the meso level of architecture and location in space (place). I think about how other people who have a shared vision construct places (ie institutes) and then I think of how many people are promoting a relational paradigm shift. I do wonder if alternative narratives can emerge from private reverie and be located in shared spaces (places) at the meso level. It is the level of intermediate community (Robert Nisbet) where cultural leverage can be applied AND SUSTAINED. LCHC is living proof of this, as is CHAT which is in virtual shared space. Ideality when shared and acted upon to create architecture which is inhabited has the power to counter reactionary narratives.

I get inspiration for this view of the possible worlds created from narrative from a book called "Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World" by L. Daloz, C. Keen, J. Keen, and S. Parks. (1996) It is an anthology of the biographies of inspired people acting on their visions to try to create a "new Commons" in a complex world.

----- Original Message -----
From: mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
Date: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 7:01 am
Subject: Re: [xmca] Fwd: Visual literacy? Surf an art museum - Lifestyle - SignOnSanDiego.com
To: "Duvall, Emily" <emily@uidaho.edu>
Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

Fuller references, Emily? It would be helpful.

In general, in discussing this topic, I find it helpful to keep
in mind
three inter-twined conceptions of literacy in discussion of it
that lead to
1. the quality or state of being literate, esp. the ability to
read and
write.  2. possession of education: to question someone's
literacy.  3. a
person's knowledge of a particular subject or field: to acquire

To me what is significant is the (perhaps necessary, see Larry's
remarks)conflation of being able to mediate
action/interpretation through a code
like kanji and knowledge about some topic.

Forgetting this issue leads to people speaking past each other
with respect
to, e.g. computer literacy.

On Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 5:39 PM, Duvall, Emily
<emily@uidaho.edu> wrote:

One of the more interesting experiences I have had is when I was
preparing to teach a course on Visual/ Critical Literacy:
Using Picture
Books, Comics, Graphic Novels, Anime, and Film in the
Classroom. I sat
down with vol 1 of Bone and began to read. I ignored the
pictures and
read the text. Zipping along, I realized (a) I didn't know
what was
going on, and (b) I was bored. I went back and spent time with the
entire text and am now thoroughly addicted. It really depends
on the way
the pictures are used... in tandem, as conjoined text; as the front
runner (as in children's writing where the pictures are the
important> aspect a story); or an add-in (as in children's later
writing when
pictures illustrate, but don't really tell us much... they
fill up time
in a classroom... "go back and illustrate"). Some texts, like The
Invention of Hugo Cabret, weave words and pictures and you
need to read
them both.
I highly recommend Molly Bang's theoretical work (sorry if I am
repeating anything already said, I'm jumping in)to really dig deeply
into the pictures; her children's books are interesting as
well. Anthony
Browne has some pretty amazing children's books...they are
edgy and
post-modern at times.

Meanwhile I have a doc student who is working on financial
literacy...> there are some fundamental elements of a literacy
that ring across
domains it seems... like discourse, eh?

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-
bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]> On Behalf Of mike cole
Sent: Monday, December 21, 2009 5:05 PM
To: Jenna McWilliams
Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Fwd: Visual literacy? Surf an art museum -
Lifestyle> - SignOnSanDiego.com

No doubt, Jenna.  And forms like Youtube allow for users
to be producers
a big way. But I see no need to knock museums and
the pleasures of "reading" paintings that have endured over a
long time!
(The cost can be pretty steep these days though).

The "learning to see" theme runs through a lot of CHAT-related
work, and
seems an endless source of insights.

One way I find that i can learn a lot about paintings is by doing
puzzles. Jackson Pollock seemed a total fraud to me until i
had, with
of friendly gossipy help, done a quite complex puzzle of one
of his big
canvases. Now jig-saw puzzles require their own
form of visual literacy, but what was amazing (a Klimpt also
provided a
similar experience) was that I actually began to see nuances
in the
paintings that i had simply never seen before. And once seen, the
ability to
see more deeply, at least for the given painting (after all
of the skill is a huge undertaking!)
it sticks with you along with the belief of the possibility
that, say,
a Russian 18th century icon may contain the potential for visual
that my naive eye, loving the combination of colors and
shapes, could

I hear what you are saying that I am seeing.

PS. Have you met Etienne Pelaprat, a great grad student here at
UCSD, formerly in cogsci but completing degree in Comm, who
has moved to
your fair city? If not, you should. He is rumored to be the sometime
of xmca through his technical skills.

On Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 4:25 PM, Jenna McWilliams

Mike, you write:
"I managed a D+ in my one obligatory art producing class in
college (a
later exhibited, by some really odd
error, in a show of student art which makes one wonder at the
involved on either side of the
process!). I am a hopeless plastic arts producer. But not entirely
illiterate as a reader, finder of meanings."

It's fair enough to argue that reading and writing are not
equivalent> forms
of literacy. But in this crazy multimodal culture of ours, where
reading and
writing both require adeptness with design proficiencies (remember
that even
the text we read on the screen is a digital product--the
'translation'> of
code into a specifically designed visual format that we can
interpret), what
we call "visual literacy" is increasingly an essential
component of
reading and writing. Visual literacy goes far beyond what we
learned> in art
class--the color wheel and all that.

In fact, it seems a little strange to link visual literacy to
I bombed art class right along with the best of them, and
success in
class still wouldn't have prepared me to engage in the sorts of
communications platforms that have become the most
significant message
delivery systems. Indeed, design and visual literacy (or
whatever you
to call them) skills are so embedded in communication
platforms that I
myself making design decisions without a thought (as when I
re-formatted the
chunk I quoted from the previous email in this thread,
because when I
it in the line breaks got all funky--distracting for the
reader!). I
know if the fact that visual literacy (or whatever you want
to call
it) is
embedded within reading and writing literacy practices
strengthens or
the case for calling it a form of literacy; I only know that
it's both
important and different enough from reading and writing
skills to
its own label, if only so we know how to talk about it.



Jenna McWilliams
Learning Sciences Program, Indiana University

On Dec 21, 2009, at 7:06 PM, mike cole wrote:

The addition of production to definitions of literacy
is always a
in my view, Jay. Reading is not equivalent to writing. In
the case of
literacy and museum art, it seems like what is being
referred to is
reading half. At least i hope so. I managed a D+ in my one
obligatory> art
producing class in college (a work later exhibited, by some
really> odd
error, in a show of student art which makes one wonder at the
involved on either side of the
process!). I am a hopeless plastic arts producer. But not
entirely> >> illiterate as a reader, finder of meanings.

There is, a few blocks from you apartment, a show at the SD
Museum of
Contemporary Art by Tera Donavan. I think you will find it as
I did. I plan to take the family during their visit.
Donovan take
objects (tar paper, straws, cups, and more) and creates
installations> with
thousand of only one object aggregated in the most
fantastic ways.
states her goal as wanting to explore the properties of
objects seens
parts of very large populations rather than as individual
objects.> The
effects she achieves are mind boggling with the play of
light and
over surface sufficient to reorder our perceptions in ways
we could
anticipate.Again, art as tertiary artifact, re-admired.

Since you have written more on time scales, I'll stay away
from the
general; we have agreed too often here to warrant repitition.
But quite specifically, our work in creating the "Fifth
Dimension"> was to
able to study changes in a pre-pared system of activity
over a long
period (from inception to death) at several scales of time.
The idea
part of our interest in the failure of "successful" educational
to be sustained-- how did they die and why and how did their
enter in to and respond to the process. Still wrestling with
of 5thD's were born and died but others keep being born.
Some are,
strikingly like their originals in the 1980's, others have
morphed so
only a few features remain. The children participants, who
are almost
impossible to track over time are now adults -- i sometime
encounter> one
ucsd. The college participants are parents I sometimes hear
from. All
recorded in their fieldnotes written at the time. I have
some money
away so that "when it dies" (or if i can manage to retire before
doing so
myself) I will have the full range of instances documented
and a lot
data in digital form,
so that I can look at that object from both ends of its
history. A
preliminary report is in the book, *The Fifth Dimension*.

As to LCHC, that is another matter. It seems to me a
certainty that
die. It had a near-death experience a couple of years ago.
As a way
of at
least marking its passing, a number of former and current
members of
are in the process of creating a book that traces its
origins and the
offspring it has generated. THAT collective narrative I
hope to live
enough to see come into being.

Now if Yuan or anyone would like to see LCHC live,
proposals for how
arrange that would of course be seriously entertained, and
perhaps> maybe
even entertaining! I thought I saw a nibble at
collaboration on
a more powerful medium the other day, but it turned out to
be a
for now, we keep on keeping on.
On Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 12:07 PM, Jay Lemke
<jaylemke@umich.edu>> wrote:

Thanks for the link, Mike. Was nice to see someone in the mass
affiliated with a newspaper no less, arguing for critical visual
protect us from advertising!

Of course that is an old idea in visual education circles,
and it
on the widespread folk-skepticism toward advertising.
Unfortunately> the
pernicious effects in ads are probably at subtler levels
than what
visual literacy skills can foreground.

"The ability to find meaning in images" is the definition
of visual
literacy used. That seems a little too basic. I think
everyone finds
in images, with or without any literacy education. Maybe
there is an
emphasis on FIND, in the sense of digging below the
surface/obvious,> >>> which
would be better. But more recent ideas in the field put more
emphasis on
visual production relative to interpretation, so I'd
probably go
with a
definition more like "the skills of making meaning with visual
for your own purposes", and include in that the meaning-
making we do
others' images by way of interpretation, critique, etc.

Have you ever noticed that when anyone, docent, tourguide,
or just
speaks authoritatively about a painting in a museum, that many
seem to become interested in listening? People generally
seem to
that art images, at least, require some professional
interpretation> or
benefit from having specialist knowledge (esp.
historical). People
to enjoy visual interpretation more than textual. Textual
seen as superfluous, even obstructing to enjoyment of the
work. No
really reads literary criticism, or book reviews beyond
the "it's
part. But people are fascinated by the exegesis of visual
works. The
basis for the popularity of the DaVinci Code and similar popular

And there is not a word about visual interpretation skills
in our
curricula (meaning as practiced in schools, there are some
nods in
official standards).


Jay Lemke
Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010)
Educational Studies
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
<http://www.umich.edu/%7Ejaylemke> <
http://www.umich.edu/%7Ejaylemke> <

Visiting Scholar
Laboratory for Comparative Human Communication
University of California -- San Diego
La Jolla, CA
USA 92093

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list