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[Xmca-l] Re: now out in paperback



Message from Francine:

Thank you Michael!!!!!!!!

> From: mcole@ucsd.edu
> Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 08:47:09 -0800
> To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: now out in paperback
> 
> ​Among the important issues in this note from Francine is the importance of
> the work of D.B.
> Elkonin to MCA, especially given the widespread interest in play and
> imagination.
> 
> I have now recovered Elkonin's book on play, which appeared in English in
> 2005. I attach here
> only the editor's preface and first chapter, uncertain as to interest in
> the group.
> 
> mike
> 
> ​
> 
> On Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 9:37 AM, larry smolucha <lsmolucha@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
> 
> > Message from Francine Smolucha:
> >
> > Dear Peter and XMCA colleagues,
> >
> > I must respectively disagree with the Peter's argument that understanding
> > Vygotsky's writings (akin to interpreting them) has to be left to elite
> > Vygotsky translators (like Van de Veer). I prefer an approach that views
> > Vygotsky for Everyman (and Woman). An analogy can be found with the way
> > anybody can find inspirational quotes from any great literature such as
> > the Bible
> > or the U.S. Constitution/Declaration of Independence. Of course there are
> > those Biblical scholars, and scholars of Constitutional Law, who would
> > look down
> > their noses at the common man's understanding of passages from these works.
> > It comes down to the difference between analysis and inspiration.
> >
> > My pioneering translations of Vygotsky's three papers on the development of
> > imagination and creativity were done in the 1980's on my own. I was a
> > graduate
> > student and community college professor (low status in academia).  My
> > interpretations
> > stand on their own and are still viable today. For the record, I have
> > found that
> > the interpretations of Vygotsky advanced by Van de Veer, Valsinar,
> > Wertsch, Daniels,
> >  (and yes even Michael Cole) have been shaped by Leontiev's Activity
> > Theory and the
> > Soviet era Russian psychologists like Vladimir Zinchenko. There are a
> > couple
> > Russian psychologists who have concurred with my assessment - Elena
> > Budrova told
> > me that my understanding was consistent with the El'konin approach to
> > Vygotsky.
> > [I have also read El'konin's Psychology of Play in Russian - there is no
> > published English translation] The El'Konin approach was suppressed in the
> > Soviet Union by the establishment psychologists of Activity Theory.  Also,
> > Tatiana Akhutina and I found we shared an understanding of Vygotsky based
> > on our shared appreciation of Luria's work on the
> > prefrontal cortex.
> >
> > I do agree with Peter in that scholarly works based on a Vygotskian
> > approach need
> > to have citations, and a bibliography from several of Vygotsky's works
> > (even better
> > citing Russian publications of Vygotsky's works.) This further establishes
> > the scholarly
> > authority of the interpretation. Merely citing passages from Mind in
> > Society is no longer
> > adequate.
> >
> >
> >
> > > From: smago@uga.edu
> > > To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:34:40 +0000
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: now out in paperback
> > >
> > > Annalisa, my apologies for recycling things I've already written.
> > Perhaps the following helps with your question. From Smagorinsky, P.
> > (2011). Vygotsky and literacy research: A methodological framework. Boston:
> > Sense. Pp. 4-6
> > >
> > > Problems in Translation
> > > Reading extensively in Vygotskian scholarship seems critical to
> > referencing him knowledgeably, given the challenges that Vygotsky's writing
> > presents to the 21st Century reader. Among these challenges is the problem
> > that most of his readers, particularly in North America, encounter him
> > through translation. In Daniels, Cole, and Wertsch's (2007) collection of
> > international papers outlining a Vygotskian perspective, a number of the
> > contributors are fluent speakers of Russian. However, even those whom I
> > consider to be conversant with Vygotsky's original writing-those whose
> > publications are rife with references to works of Vygotsky that are only
> > available in Russian-are cautious about their grasp of both the language
> > and the concepts.
> > >       Michael Cole, who has spoken Russian for many decades, who lived
> > in the for-mer Soviet Union during his internship with A. R. Luria, who
> > served as co-editor and co-translator of Mind in Society (Vygotsky, 1978),
> > whose leadership in the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition has
> > helped to shape worldwide extensions of Russian psychology, who was the
> > founding editor of the journal Mind, Culture, and Activity, and who has
> > produced a number of foundational works in the Vygotskian tradition, wrote
> > in response to my inquiry that "I have been writing jointly with [Russian
> > Natalia Gajdamaschko] precisely because I feel so strongly the need for
> > more than simple translation help in dealing with the meta-psychology and
> > national ethos that is the relevant context for understanding the local
> > words" (M. Cole, personal communication). James Wertsch, who has spent
> > considerable time in the Soviet Union, Russia, and many former Soviet
> > states where Russian remains the lingua franca, and who has translated
> > Vygotsky into English (e.g., Wertsch, 1981), also backs off from claims
> > that his knowledge of Russian could be termed fluent (J. Wertsch, personal
> > communication).
> > >       As someone whose only linkage to Vygotsky's Byelorussian  roots
> > comes through my grandparents' origins in Vygotsky's hometown of Gomel, I
> > read the qualifiers by Cole and Wertsch as cautions regarding any claims to
> > understanding Vygotsky for those of us who speak no Russian at all. I rely
> > on the translations of others, including those who express limited
> > confidence in their own fluency. Most North American readers face this same
> > problem, and so the challenges of reading a major thinker only in
> > translation-especially translation that spans alphabets, cultures,
> > concepts, and other formidable barriers-are thus worth reviewing here.
> > >       At present there are abundant Vygotskian texts available to the
> > English lan-guage reader: six volumes of collected works in publication,
> > additional books from his oeuvre available (e.g., Vygotsky, 1971, 1997;
> > Vygotsky & Luria, 1993), key texts subjected to multiple translations, and
> > a major project now underway in Russia to make his entire output available
> > to English-speaking readers. Yet Vygotsky remains a complex figure and
> > difficult scholar to grasp, and for a variety of reasons. In his
> > "Translator's Foreword and Acknowledgements" to The Collected Works, Volume
> > 3, Van der Veer says, "I have not attempted to improve Vygotsky's style of
> > writing although it was at times difficult to refrain from doing so. It is
> > clear that Vygotsky . . . never rewrote a text for the sake of improving
> > its style and readability. Hence the redundancy, the difficulty to follow
> > the thread of his argument, the awkward sentences, etc." (p. v).
> > >       Meshcheryakov (2007) notes that Vygotsky produced 190 works within
> > the ten-year span that comprised his career, many of which "were written
> > very quickly, in almost telegraphic style. Some works remain unfinished. It
> > is certainly possible that some of the works that were published
> > posthumously were not yet intended for publication" (p. 155). Daniels et
> > al. (2007) assert that "It is difficult to reconcile some of the writing
> > from the early 1920s with that which was produced during the last 2 years
> > of his life. These rapid changes, coupled with the fact that his work was
> > not published in chronological order, make synthetic summaries of his work
> > difficult" (p. 2). So in addition to the difficulty of the ideas Vygotsky
> > produced, his rendering of them into text made for challenging reading, no
> > matter how well-prepared the reader is.
> > >       Even those with extraordinary fluency in Vygotsky's work typically
> > consult others to help with their understanding. Van der Veer, a native of
> > the Netherlands, relates in his translator's introduction to the Collected
> > Works, Volume 3 that "After I had translated the whole volume [from Russian
> > to English], I carefully checked my translation against the German and
> > Spanish translations of the same volume" (1997, p. v). With five languages
> > at play in his effort to translate Vygotsky's al-ready-difficult prose and
> > concepts (German, Spanish, Russian, English, and Dutch), Van der Veer
> > further enlisted feedback from a host of colleagues (mostly European) in
> > order to amend Vygotsky's "sloppy" approach to citation by includ-ing
> > appropriate references and footnotes to provide depth, detail, and
> > clarification to the text.
> > >       Van der Veer's (1997) meticulous approach to rendering Vygotsky
> > into English suggests one key lesson to be learned from reading Vygotsky
> > with any insight: that claims to understanding or implementing ideas must
> > be undertaken with care and caution. I refer again to Van der Veer's work
> > in underscoring the importance of reading more than just excerpts (or
> > summaries of excerpts, or summaries of those summaries in textbooks) from
> > Mind in Society in claiming a Vygotskian perspec-tive. In his review of an
> > Italian translation of Thinking and Speech that post-dates any version of
> > the text available in English, Van der Veer makes the remarkable point that
> > >       Unfortunately, neither in English nor in any other language has a
> > reliable repub-lication of Thought and Language been available. Leaving
> > aside the questions that can be raised concerning the original Soviet 1934
> > edition (Vygotsky did not see the book in print and the editor,
> > Kolbanovsky, changed some of the wordings to make the book more palatable
> > for the ideological leaders), we know that the later 1956 and 1982 Soviet
> > editions were marred by many mistakes and plain falsifications. All of the
> > existing translations into English, or any other language, took these
> > unreliable later editions as their point of departure. As a result, readers
> > unable to read Russian or find a copy of the original 1934 edition have
> > had, until now, no authoritative text of Thought and Language available.
> > (p. 83; cf. van der Veer, 1987, for a critical review of Kozulin's 1986
> > translation of Thought and Language, which to van der Veer is more properly
> > translated as Thinking and Speech)
> > >       I am impressed that Van der Veer is now sufficiently fluent in at
> > least six lan-guages to read Vygotsky and then make this judgment; I am
> > alarmed that he nonetheless states that "Vygotsky obviously preferred
> > principled opponents, such as Pavlov, who made their own original
> > contribution to science and invented their own scientific vocabulary to
> > mediocre university professors, such as the present writer, who can only
> > summarize what others have discovered" (2007, p. 37). If I'm not
> > sufficiently daunted to learn that Van der Veer regards himself as a
> > relative mediocrity, I cringe yet further when I realize that even though
> > I've been referencing Vygotsky in my own work since the early 1990s, I
> > probably am basing my understanding on inaccurate and incomplete
> > translations. It becomes important, then, for me and no doubt others to
> > engage with the work of Vygotskian scholars who have read his Russian texts
> > in order to develop a clearer grasp of the ideas that I believe I am
> > drawing on.
> > >       If problems of direct translation of Vygotsky's work were not
> > enough of a chal-lenge, the fact that he did not necessarily pen his own
> > texts presents another. His magnum opus, Thinking and Speech, was published
> > in 1934, the year he died; he dictated sections from his sickbed, no doubt
> > contributing to the text's notorious difficulty (Zinchenko, 2007). Further,
> > some of what is published under his name is taken from his student's
> > lecture notes or other stenographic records, undoubtedly with gaps in
> > transcription and reformulation in expression (e.g., a set of lectures
> > included in the Collected Works, Volume 5: "The Crisis of the First Year,"
> > "Early Childhood," "The Crisis at Age Three," "The Crisis at Age Seven";
> > Vygotsky, 1998b). Making definitive claims, as do Gredler and Shields
> > (2004), regarding what Vygotsky did and did not say, is thus a precarious
> > undertaking that even the most reputable U. S. Vygotskian scholars should
> > attempt with considerable caution and temperance.
> > >
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Annalisa Aguilar
> > > Sent: Monday, January 26, 2015 5:26 PM
> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity (xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu)
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: now out in paperback
> > >
> > > Wow!
> > >
> > > This book looks really cool! Thanks for bringing it to listserv
> > consciousness, Peter!
> > >
> > > I did not know that Vygotsky was notoriously indifferent to his reader's
> > sensibilities. I do not know what that means?
> > >
> > > Kind regards,
> > >
> > > Annalisa
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/lev-vygotsky-9781472504920/
> > >
> > >
> > > 12-18-2014
> > > ·
> > > About Lev Vygotsky
> > >
> > > Lev Vygotsky, the great Russian psychologist, had a profound influence
> > on educational thought. His work on the perception of art,
> > cultural-historical theory of the mind and the zone of proximal development
> > all had an impact on modern education.
> > >
> > > This text provides a succinct critical account of Vygotsky's life and
> > work against the background of the political events and social turmoil of
> > that time and analyses his cross-cultural research and the application of
> > his ideas to contemporary education. René van der Veer offers his own
> > interpretation of Vygotsky as both the man and anti-man of educational
> > philosophy, concluding that the strength of Vygotsky's legacy lies in its
> > unfinished, open nature.
> > >
> > > Table Of Contents
> > >
> > > Foreword
> > > Series Editor's Preface
> > > Preface
> > >
> > > Introduction
> > >
> > > Part I: Intellectual Biography
> > > 1. Lev Vygotsky
> > >
> > > Part II: Critical Exposition of Vygotsky's Work 2. Early Writings 3.
> > Creating Cultural-historical Theory 4. The Zone of Proximal Development 5.
> > Cross-cultural Education
> > >
> > > Part III: The Reception, Influence and Relevance of Vygotsky's Work
> > Today 6. Contemporary Educational Research 7. Conclusions
> > >
> > > Bibliography
> > > Name Index
> > > Subject Index
> > >
> > > Reviews
> > >
> > > "In this concise intellectual biography of L. S. Vygotsky, eminent
> > Vygotskian authority René van der Veer has written an accessible account of
> > the major periods of Vygotsky's career, reviewing the development of
> > Vygotsky's thinking in plain and often witty language, a service of
> > immeasurable importance, given Vygotsky's notorious indifference to his
> > readers' sensibilities... This volume is straightforward and edifying
> > enough for undergraduates, and stimulating and informative enough for those
> > who have been immersed in Vygotskian scholarship for many decades." -
> > Peter Smagorinsky, The University of Georgia, USA,
> > >
> >
> >
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science as an object
> that creates history. Ernst Boesch.