About XMCA

The Mind, Culture, and Activity Homepage describes itself (June 24, 2000) as:
... an interactive forum for a community of interdisciplinary scholars who share an interest in the study of human mind in its cultural and historical contexts. Our emphasis is research that seeks to resolve methodological problems associated with the analysis of human and theoretical approaches that place culture and activity at the center of attempts to understand human nature. Our participants come from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, cognitive science, education, linguistics, psychology and sociology.
Central to the organization of activities in the community is the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition (LCHC) at University of California, San Diego. LCHC publishes the Mind, Culture, and Activity journal (MCA) and sponsors XMCA, an e-mail discussion group.
This homepage seeks to integrate a variety of activities in the community into one on-line resource. On this page you will find links to current and past issues of MCA, on-line discussions from the XMCA mailing list, personal profiles of our participants, and links to other related Web sites. We invite all people interested in any aspect of our activities and research to contribute to a common dialogue among e-mail discussants, journal subscribers, and interested researchers.
The electronic forum based at LCHC, and with research interests in Activity Theory and Cultural-Historical approaches to psychology has a history on the Net that goes back to 1984. The list was originally named XLCHC, and the Welcome Message used on the list between 1991 and 1995 describes it like this:
XLCHC came into being in 1984 as a medium for discussion of research on learning and development with a general concern for issues of education in modern technological societies and a special concern about the ways in which educational systems are a source of socially engendered social inequality. The "call letters" of this discussion group (to borrow terminology from another medium) indicate its initial goals. LCHC is the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, a research unit founded at the Rockefeller University in the early 1970's which moved to the University of California, San Diego in 1978. Until 1984, LCHC had an ethnically diverse faculty that conducted an active post-doctoral program in the use of comparative methods for studying culture and cognition with special interest in problems of learning and development in school and non-school settings. By 1984, two years into the Reagan-Bush era, we had lost virtually all of our minority group faculty, our research concerns were explicitly rejected by federal funding agencies, and we were denied post-doctoral funds on the grounds that there was insufficient minority group faculty. :-)
XLCHC was one response to this non-benign neglect. The "X" in the title had a dual significance: First, it was meant to provide a medium for continued interaction and cooperation by the many visitors and post-doctoral fellows with whom we had interacted in the past, that is, for "ex-LCHCers." Second, it was meant to provide a broadened constituency for discussion of the issues traditionally associated with the Laboratory by including scholars and graduate students from around the world who wished to participate.

Within-site Xlist links

  • Some descriptive statistics from the Xlists.
  • A paper of mine from 1998: Contact, Community, Multilogue
  • A paper of mine from 1999: The Emergence and Decay of Multilogue on a Scholarly Mailinglist

Eva Ekeblad, June 2000