James Wertsch

James V. Wertsch

David R. Francis Distinguished Professor, Professor of Anthropology in Arts & Sciences


    James Wertsch is the David R. Francis Distinguished Professor, professor of sociocultural anthropology, and professor of international and area studies. He also is the director emeritus of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy and previous Vice Chancellor for International Affairs at Washington University in St. Louis.

    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, where he studied under figures such as the neuropsychologist Alexander R. Luria.  Wertsch has held faculty positions at Northwestern University (Department of Linguistics), the University of California, San Diego (Department of Communication), Clark University (Department of Psychology), and now Washington University in St. Louis.  In addition, he has been a visiting professor at the University of Utrecht (Belle van Zuylen Research Professor), Moscow State University (Fulbright Senior Lecturer), 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.