The first review of my book, The Transformative Mind: Expanding Vygotsky’s Approach to Development and Learning (Cambridge University Press, 2016) just came out – see Thomas Bidell, The Transformative Turn in Sociocultural Theory. Human Development 2017; 60:55–59. See also reviews by Bonnie Nardi in Mind, Culture and Activity and by Michalis Kontopodis in Pedagogy, Culture and Society. They will be posted on and

Check out the Pre-conference workshop, August 28th 2017, in Quebec (Canada) at the Congress of the International Society for Cultural-Historical and Activity Research (ISCAR), Research with Transformative Agendas: Increasing Equality in Education and Beyond
Here is the abstract:
This workshop offers opportunities to critically examine how theory and research can push the boundaries to centrally integrate transformative agendas premised on ideals of equality and social justice. Taking on and expanding upon Vygotsky’s passionate commitment to equality, the directions to be examined are focused on inserting activism into the key considerations about human development and education at the intersection of theory, methodology, research, and practice. This opens up the space for dialogue and collaboration among culturalhistorical, sociocultural, and activity scholarship on the one hand, and critical approaches in ethnography, pedagogy, work studies, and Critical Race Theory, on the other. The notions of objectivity, validity, warrants for knowledge, and researchers’ standpoints, as these can be premised on non-neutral ideals of equality and justice, will be explored. The overarching goal is to discuss how to move forward in conducting research that takes on an active role in the world in turmoil and crisis where neutrality is not an option.

I recently gave presentations of my new book, The Transformative Mind: Expanding Vygotsky’s Approach to Development and Learning (Cambridge University Press, 2016) at Penn State University, at the University of Sudbury (Canada), University of Sherbrooke (Canada), NYU (New York), Columbia University (New York), Universities of Oxford, Manchester and Sheffield (England).

about the book, see

Abstract: The book suggests a transition from a relational worldview premised on the socio-political ethos of adaptation towards a transformative worldview premised on the ethos of solidarity and equality. Expansively developing Vygotsky’s revolutionary project, the Transformative Activist Stance integrates insights from a vast array of critical and sociocultural theories and pedagogies and moves beyond their impasses to address the crisis of inequality. This captures the dynamics of social transformation and agency in moving beyond theoretical and political canons of the status quo. The focus is on the nexus of people co-creating history and society while being interactively created by their own transformative agency. Revealing development and mind as agentive contributions to the ‘world-in-the-making’ from an activist stance guided by a sought-after future, this approach culminates in implications for research with transformative agendas and a pedagogy of daring. Along the way, many key theories of mind, development and education are challenged and radically reworked.

I was a plenary keynote speaker at the Literacy Research Association Congress (Tampa, Florida) and Congress of the International Society for Cultural-Historical and Activity Research (ISCAR) in Sydney, Australia (2014).

I was a plenary keynote speaker at the North European Congress on Education (NERA) in Reykjavik, Iceland (see

Here is the abstract for the paper I gave:

From Participation to Transformation: New Perspectives for Education in the Changing World

This talk provides critical analysis of the worldview underpinning theories of development and learning, presently dominant in education, based in the notion of adaptation to the existing status quo. An alternative approach, suited to address challenges arising especially in the context of the rapidly changing world, is premised on the notion of collaborative transformative practice as the core grounding for human development and learning. In this approach, what lies at the core of human development and learning is an ineluctably activist stance vis-a`-vis the world, carried out through individually unique yet always thoroughly social contributions to collaborative community practices. Education, from a transformative activist stance, needs to be organized in ways that provide students with the tools for developing their own activist positionings and stands, thus enabling them to be proactive agents who not only participate but contribute to the rapidly changing world and who thus invent their own futures. The tools of critical teaching-learning have to afford students to situate themselves in the presently unfolding social-cultural and polticial dynamics (while discerning their histories and core contradictions in the present) and, simulatenoulsy, to formulate future-oriented goals and visions about how these dynamics can, need, and ought to be changed for the better. This approach posits education as a critical practice deeply infused with ideological, personal, conceptual, and political dimensions that require continuous contestation and innovation, embedding the vision of creating education for a society that itself needs to be created rather than merely reproduced or adapted to.