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[Xmca-l] Re: History(ies) of this discourse community and futures past

​Okay folks, looks like I royally screwed up that last email. I entirely
misunderstood Mike's email request to me and I hope you'll let me clarify.

Mike was unable to forward the link from his iPad and so he asked me to
forward the link along. But the only link I could find to a "history" under
the History tab was the history of LCHC. I did my best to make connections,
but of course this wasn't what Mike was talking about at all!

Turns out that there are another set of papers that were hiding under the
archives sub-menu of the History tab that are in fact much more germane to
the recent XMCA conversation. Both of these papers directly engage with
questions that pertain to what we now call the "listserve" medium of
communication. Both very explicitly address many of the issues that have
been raised in the past few weeks with regard to this very listserve right
here. Below are the proper links to these papers with a brief description
of each and of their relevance.

The first piece is a 1992 essay titled "The Seeds of XLCHC" and was written
by by Vanessa Gack and Noah Finkelstein (XLCHC was the forerunner of XMCA).
This piece can be found here:


This piece traces the early years of XLCHC as it was the first LCHC/CHAT
related electronically mediated form of communication. This paper starts in
the mid- 80's (tracing roots prior to that) and traces through the
beginning of the 90's. There is even an interesting discussion about
subject lines as well as the role of the identities of participants.

The second piece is from a 1998 ISCAR talk by Eva Ekeblad titled "Contact,
Community and Multilogue: Electronic Communication in the Practice of
Scholarship.". It can be found here:


Here is one paragraph from the abstract:
"It is suggested here that a nested model of three interrelated activity
systems constitutes a productive tool for research into computer mediated
scholarly communication. Due to the character of the e-mail medium the
archived text is a patchwork or web produced through the activity of all
the nested systems. The model of three nested activity systems serves as a
powerful aid for discerning salient units of analysis, for describing the
development of prevalent practices within the community, and for locating
important contradictions.
This piece also has an interesting consideration of the problem of
"cumulativity" - which seems to me to be something that has recently been
popping up (and an issue that I struggle with often - how to know all that
has come before on the list?").

Anyway, please accept my apologies for my faux-pas here. I missed the
Archives submenu on the lchc page and read entirely the wrong history
(important to get one's history right!). I'm hopeful that my blunder won't
kill this very important conversation.

I think you'll find these papers quite a bit more to the point.

Very best,


On Sat, Nov 29, 2014 at 12:37 PM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>

> Folks,
> Mike asked me to forward this link to the list:
> http://lchcfestschrift.wikispaces.com/The+Story+of+LCHC+-+An+Unfinished+Polyphonic+Autobiography
> This is the link to the wiki-history of LCHC, the forerunner of the XMCA
> discourse community.
> Mike has proposed (see forwarded message below) that we all familiarize
> ourselves with this history (particularly those that are new to XMCA).
> To that end, I thought I'd pose a couple questions:
> What do you find interesting/surprising about the history of LCHC?
> What current threads (!) are being pulled through to the present day XMCA
> conversations? Here and elsewhere?
> How might we make sense of this history?
> I'm not sure if this is what Mike is pointing to, but it seems that there
> are some substantial discontinuities between the XMCA conversations of the
> past few years and what LCHC has been doing throughout most of its history.
> This isn't to say that is a bad thing, simply to point it out and to ask:
> why the differences?
> Finally, you'll notice that the chapters are chronological leading up to
> the last chapter titled The Future.
> That one remains unwritten but will soon be history.
> -greg
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
> Date: Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 11:48 PM
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Fate, Luck and Chance [Language as a form]
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> Carol Et al
> It is a short holiday week in the US and I am on the road visiting family
> and friends. I have only limited access and am trying to think about what
> it means to have participants with such varied histories with the discourse
> community and its topic and such varied backgrounds. Uncharted territory.
> For those who care to see XMCA continue, I suggest that you read and
> reflect on the 30+ history of this discourse community. The summaries that
> I know of can be found at
> LCHC.ucsd.edu under history archives. There are two summaries there that
> go
> back to roughly 1983.
> Further comment without people stopping to familiarize themselves with
> prior history and without having participants ceasing to seek  solutions to
> the current confusions in the iniatives taken by others rather than in
> collective action in which they share responsibility seems unlikely to bear
> fruit that can nourish a productive future.
> All sorts of alternatives are possible.
> One alternative is not possible, and that is to eschew personal
> responsibility and lay it on the shoulders of a 76 year old "retired
> professor" whose inadequate understanding of the core issues of the role of
> culture in the development have been thoroughly documented by numerous real
> experts over decades.
> The record is there, open to all.
> Check it out. Then we can assess the future.
> Good luck to us all
> Mike

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602