James V. Wertsch

James V. Wertsch studies language, thought, and culture, with a special focus on national memory and narratives. His publications include Vygotsky and the Social Formation of Mind (Harvard University Press, 1985), Voices of the Mind (Harvard University Press, 1991), Mind as Action (Oxford University Press, 1998), Voices of Collective Remembering (Cambridge University Press, 2002), and How Nations Remember (Oxford University Press, 2021), as well as edited volumes with Cambridge University Press on Vygotsky and memory studies. After finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, Wertsch was a postdoctoral fellow at the USSR Academy of Sciences and Moscow State University, where he studied with the neuropsychologist Alexander R. Luria. He has held faculty positions at Northwestern University, the University of California, San Diego, Clark University, and Washington University in St. Louis, where he has also been Vice Chancellor for International Affairs. Wertsch is a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Russian Academy of Education, and he holds honorary degrees from Linköping University and the University of Oslo. He is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and has served as a guest professor at the University of Oslo in Norway, Tsinghua University in Beijing, and at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Posts by James V. Wertsch

Memory, Politics, and the Fight Over History

The volume makes it hard not to sympathize with Tibetans, but to her credit, Tsering Woeser makes it clear at several points that Tibetans were not simply victims of Chinese authorities; they were also guilty of transgressions in the Cultural Revolution. Her larger point may be that humans in any group are capable of acting in ways that can shock others, and even themselves.

The Road from Berlin in 1989 to America Today

    In November 1989, the world watched with disbelief as the Berlin Wall fell. In America, we followed one breathless report after another about the end of communism, and we speculated about the rise of democracy in Eastern Europe and perhaps even the Soviet Union. Fortified by an attitude of triumphalism and optimism, the […]