Re: Sheldon (Shep) White

From: Jay Lemke (
Date: Tue Mar 22 2005 - 19:42:50 PST

Very sorry to hear this, and thanks, Mike, for the thoughtful remembrance.
I knew him much less well, but fairly recently (about 3-4 years ago in
connection with an NSF symposium and its follow-ups), and found him very
helpful and generous as well as insightful.


At 07:21 PM 3/22/2005, Mike Cole wrote:
>Dear Colleagues,
>I have been notified of the sad news that Shep White, long time professor of
>psychology at Harvard died. He had been ill for some time, but his passing is
>a matter of deep sorrow to those who knew him and his work.
>Speaking personally, I first knew Shep as a mentor to Barbara Rogoff
>and one of the people who put their careers and time on the line to
>help the Project Head
>Start get off the ground. Later I came to kinow him as a supportive and caring
>mentor who was kind enough to write a preface of a book I wrote.
>In that book Shep and his colleaguel, Emily Cahan, are credited with
>tracing the
>history of the "second psychology", one that included culture as a fundamental
>constituitive of human nature, as a parallel and at-least-equal of the
>first psychology of logical positivism. He counted Vygotsky as one of
>the icons
>of this second psychology.
>In their article, Shep and Emily noted that when anyone moved from the
>first to the second psychology, they were very likely to be perceived
>and treated by their
>colleagues as having moved from "basic" to "applied" psychology. Dewey, they
>wrote, suffered a similar fate.
>In a rare and gleeful irony,. when the prior edition of the Handbook
>of Developmental Psychology was being put together, the editors moved
>from basic to the applied volume of the Handbook. Shep and I had a great time
>celebrating their forsight in pre-visioning our fate. (Ultimately, we were too
>preoccupied with other matters to finish the task, which, with, in
>great fashion, was completed by Patricia Greenfield and a colleauge).
>And in a double helix of ironies, the next arfticle in the handbook, in the
>volume on cognitive development (a "basic" approach???) wil be
>authored by a member of lchc.
>Shep's wife, Barbara, his life's companion and a fine psychologist, is
>of course the person who has suffered the greatest loss.

Jay Lemke
University of Michigan
School of Education
610 East University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Tel. 734-763-9276

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