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[Xmca-l] Re: Sad news-- Jerry Bruner has died

Dear Mike, Dear Xmca-ers,

I was very sad when I heard this today. Bruner's thinking gave me hope and
lighted my soul when I was doing my PhD fifteen years ago. I saw my
discipline of choice evolving to such anti-culturalist and anti-humanistic
stance that I felt psychology was not the place where I wanted to be. And
yet his writings kept me company during those years of my graduate
education. They drove me, in part, to work in education and to shift my
dissertation to the issue of folk pedagogy, which he had raised with David
Olson a few years before.

I remember searching for and perusing his books at the Strand bookstore in
New York, then getting them as special gems. Later on my commute back to
New Haven, I kept reading Bruner in the train. I loved his ability to write
essays that established a bridge between psychology and the literary world.
So, here there was someone who could make these two areas to talk about the
same because they were about the same.

At some point I decided I might try to contact him. He was about 85 years
old, and I was just in my early thirties. Who knows, he might respond. And
yes he did. He was very kind. I had the opportunity to invite him as a grad
student to give a talk at Yale and he kindly accepted to come, although I
had never been in contact with him before. He was such a figure in the
field and he still took the time to attend and engage in conversation with
young and unknown grad students. Later, I had the opportunity to visit him
with a friend in New York one time or two and those one or two meetings
remain as treasured memories in my heart. He was very gentle when I asked
him to sign, well, all of the books that I have gotten in Strand during the
years. He handled my admiration for him in a lovely manner.

His work is a fundamental reference for us psychologists in a time when our
discipline has moved far away from those issues that mattered to him. Those
of us who remain here, struggling during these apocalyptic and disgraceful
times, have a responsibility, however our limitations, to take the torch
and keep reminding that culture is the essential niche of human development
and an everlasting source of psychological, educational and literary

Fond regards,


On Sun, Jun 5, 2016 at 8:37 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> ​At the age of 100 it cannot be unexpected, but  I have just heard from a
> colleague that Jerry Bruner​ has died.
> Its difficult to lose a colleague and friend who had a fundamental
> influence on my own life trajectory.
> mike
> --
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
> that creates history. Ernst Boesch