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[Xmca-l] Re: The Learning Sciences in the era of U.S. Nationalism

One paragraph from the article on Learning Sciences and US Nationalism:

       Our scholarship has the potential to be a form of
       transformative resistance against the most
       significant political threats to our democracy today
       by explicitly defending and furthering the rights
       and well-being of people of color, immigrants,
       Muslims, women, people who are differently abled,
       LGBTQ communities, and the earth.

So I take this to mean that the authors think that the fact that inequality has reached a point where 2 individuals own as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the world's population and 26 individuals own half of the world's wealth is a non-issue. That the de-industrialisation of US cities is a matter of no importance. To use one of the catchphrases of the election, they are "doubling down" on the claim that inequality is a matter of cultural prejudice and if only we were all much more careful in our use of language and showed respect for cultural differences, then we can safely leave the world in the hands of Walmart and Exxon.


Andy Blunden
On 23/01/2017 8:01 AM, mike cole wrote:
Helena et al --

An important emphasis in the article for me was on the fact that although
the article focused on the American nationalist movement that has just
pulled of an alt-right coup, similar movements are poised to take hold in a
lot of places in Europe to join the many already entrenched unsavory
governments in other parts of the world.

The CRADLE center in Helsinki is under very concerted attack and the right
wing government appears, from this distance, to be making great progress on
destroying its legacy. The same process has been in Denmark for some time,
also with apparent success.

What do our international colleagues who have already felt the hot breath
of right wing nationalism have to offer in terms of strategies of

Back to "what is to be done," that sombre question from an earlier era. The
answer last time did not produce what it promised.



On Sun, Jan 22, 2017 at 12:22 PM, Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com>

Thank you, Alfredo - I gave it a read.

Sure, of course they’re right. But I am very disappointed.

I was hoping that the following was only item #1 in a long list of "what
the 2016 election made apparent":

The 2016 election has made apparent the need for scholarship that
explicitly defends and furthers the rights and well-being of people of
color, immigrants, Muslims, women, people who are differently abled, LGBTQ
communities, and the earth. These are stances that have been limited, at
least explicitly, in the Learning Sciences.

But the call for inclusion was not just #1, it seems to be the whole
thing.  In other words, it’s all about identity —plus the earth, of course.
While inclusion is necessary, it’s not even a start. Yes, research,
teaching, publishing, promotion, conferences — everything associated with
teaching and learning has to include everyone as equals (see Andy’s book)
in one way or another — but then what? What are they (we) supposed to do?
Where does the pretty language touch the ground?

I was listening to a broadcast of the Women’s March in DC on Saturday
morning, and Kamala Harris, who was the California State Attorney General
and is now a junior Senator from CA, was addressing the rally. She said,
“People always ask me to talk about women’s issues. I say, ‘Oh, I’m SO glad
you’re interested in economics!! Let’s talk about economics.”  And she ran
through a whole set of parallel back-and-forths, always pulling identity
questions back to wages, jobs, earning, supporting your family, etc etc.

Much as we need to wipe away any barriers to the Learning Sciences (and
the professions and institutions dedicated to them) due to identity, until
the Learning Sciences start taking a look at the place where most people
spend most of their lives — not school, I mean — but work, they will be
engaging in a soft conversation at the edge of the real issue. It’s a
pleasant conversation but it doesn’t put a hand on the levers that
translate skill and knowledge into rent and groceries.


Helena Worthen
Berkeley, CA 94707
Blog about US and Viet Nam: helenaworthen.wordpress.com

On Jan 22, 2017, at 11:38 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
Here it is,

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
on behalf of Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com>
Sent: 22 January 2017 20:24
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Learning Sciences in the era of U.S.
Someone please re-send the link to this article?  I think I’m going to
want to read it and respond to Mike’s question.
Thanks — H

Helena Worthen
Berkeley, CA 94707
Blog about US and Viet Nam: helenaworthen.wordpress.com

On Jan 22, 2017, at 12:25 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>

thanks a lot for sharing this article. You and Michael, who have and
know more history, have spoken in terms of reminiscences. I have lived and
know less, and the article feels like fresh air. During my PhD, I begun to
increasingly feel that I had to due something to act and respond to the
increasing ecological and humanitarian globe crises. But how could I do
anything if I had children and a PhD to finalise?? What could I do that
would also be doing my job as researcher in a department of education? It
was very difficult to find anything, partly because almost every academic
quest would focus on learning, but so little on social development. How
many scientific articles are dedicated to socio-political questions in the
most cited educational journals? I felt very powerless.
To be able to address these questions within my expertise, is a
challenge partly because contrary to Dewey's hope, educational research has
only marginally focused on these questions, and yet they may be exactly the
question that matter to education. What are we educating for? Indeed, what
is education for? I think we face a serious problem when someone (like
myself), being an educational researchers/scholar, still has to scratch her
head wondering <<how can I make my profession matter to social change and
development?>> Vygotsky would be shocked!

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
on behalf of mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
Sent: 19 January 2017 04:51
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Learning Sciences in the era of U.S.
Yes Michael,

It feels like the world of the later 1930's about the time I was born as
that period came down to me through the prism of a family of "premature
anti fascists."

For a great re-creation of those times see the highly ambivalent film by
Frank Capra, "meet John Doe." It has American big capital interconnected
with fascism combined with populist collectivism in a manner that
points at
the media (as then experienced) as the bad guys in disguise. Happy
Beethoven Ode to Joy and all.

It's come round again, nastier this time.

On Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 6:20 PM Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu>


It was so interesting to read this note after reading the Cognition and
Instruction essay.  All the way through it I kept thinking we have been
here before.  It reminded me of the scholars, especially those who had
escaped from Germany, trying to make sense of what had happened to
society during World War II.  The foremost in my mind was Lewin.
Except I
wonder if he would say the process of transformative action starts not
emergence of quasi-needs, but our willingness and abilities to step
from our quasi-needs and the ways that they drive us, often to
dysfunctional behaviors that it ultimately destructive to both our
and to us as individuals.  How hard this is to do, we have to keep
back again and again.  The quasi-needs, tribalism, acceptance,
standing are
always there.  It is how they shape us that is critical.


-----Original Message-----

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole

Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 8:31 PM

To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>

Subject: [Xmca-l] The Learning Sciences in the era of U.S. Nationalism

In following  the perezhivanie thread I encountered the note I
And interestingly mis-remembered. A translation into my focus on
mediational means. He places the starting point of the process of
transformative action at the emergence of quasi-needs (from Kurt
That seems correct to me. The new mediational means emerge under
environmental presses. Ever functionalist ego need a goal(!). (The
with functionalism) In David's words,

Perhaps the place we should look for "exaptations" that can save both
personalities and our environment is not in our evolved needs, but in
to be designed quasi-needs. Artificial organs, after all, always
new and ever more artificial functions, like chess and language.

This point seems worth keeping in mind as we look at where this group
critical scholars who work within the Learning Sciences disciplinary
framework would like to lead us.