James V. Wertsch is Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts and Sciences and the director of International and Area Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He also holds the position of professor in the Department of Anthropology in Arts & Sciences at the university.
After finishing his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1975, Wertsch spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow in Moscow, where he studied linguistics and neuropsychology. He then went on to hold faculty positions at Northwestern University (linguistics), the University of California, San Diego (communication), Clark University (psychology), and Washington University (anthropology and education). He has also had visiting positions at Moscow State University (Fulbright Senior Scholar, 1984), the University of Utrecht (the Belle van Zuylen Chair, 1987-88), the University of Seville (visiting professor, 1992-93), the Scandinavian Collegium for Advanced Study in Social Sciences (visiting scholar, 1998), Bristol University (Benjamin J. Meaker Distinguished Visiting Professor, 2000), and Oslo University (professor II, 2005-08).
Among Wertsch’s publications are: “Vygotsky and the Social Formation of Mind” (Harvard University Press, 1985); “Voices of the Mind: A Sociocultural Approach to Mediated Action” (Harvard University Press, 1991); “Mind as Action” (Oxford University Press, 1998), and “Voices of Collective Remembering” (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
Wertsch’s research is concerned with language, thought and culture. For the past several years, he has focused on collective memory and identity in countries such as Russia and Ukraine, and he is now examining these topics in the Republic of Georgia. Using Georgia as a natural laboratory for the emergence of democracy and civil society, Wertsch recently co-edited a volume on the “Rose Revolution” in that country (“Enough! The Rose Revolution in the Republic of Georgia in 2003,” Nova Publishers, 2005). Wertsch also organized an international conference on “Negotiating a New National Narrative in Georgia” at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Conference Center in August.
Wertsch holds honorary degrees from Linköping University in Sweden and the University of Oslo in Norway, and he is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Education.