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James V. Wertsch

James V. Wertsch kindly agreed to give a key note speech during the conference “Collective vs Collected Memories”. His presentation, entitled “Mnemonic Communities and Habits” took place on the first day of the conference.

James V. Wertsch is the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts and Sciences, Vice Chancellor for International Affairs, and Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis.  He is the founding director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, which is Washington University’s lead international initiative.  Wertsch’s research is concerned with language, thought, and culture, with a special focus on national narratives and identities.  He is the author of over 200 publications appearing in over a dozen languages.  These include the volumes Voices of the Mind (Harvard University Press, 1991), Mind as Action (Oxford University Press, 1998), and Voices of Collective Remembering (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

After finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1975 Wertsch was a postdoctoral fellow in Moscow at the USSR Academy of Sciences and Moscow State University.  Wertsch has held faculty positions at Northwestern University, the University of California, San Diego, Clark University, and now Washington University in St. Louis.  In addition he has been a visiting professor at the University of Utrecht, Moscow State University, the University of Seville, the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Social Sciences, Bristol University, and the University of Oslo.  Wertsch is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, holds honorary degrees from Linköping University in Sweden and the University of Oslo in Norway, and is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Education.  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.

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