Cultural Historical Research SIG 30
Cultural Historical Research SIG 30
SIG Purpose


Cultural Historical Research_LH

The Cultural-Historical Research Special Interest Group (SIG #30) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) is a diverse grouping of researchers who approach learning, development and social change from a cultural-historical, socio-cultural and/or activity theoretic perspective. Common themes of research and conversation draw on Vygotsky, Luria, Leont’ev, Bakhtin, Mead (and others).

Drawing on these perspectives, members also engage with frameworks that are inclusive to, but not limited to critical, feminist, digital studies, and arts-based approaches to explore sociocultural, educational, pedagogical, and sociopolitical questions at the intersection of theory and practice. 


Co-Chairs: Arturo Cortez, University of Colorado Boulder & Anu Kajamaa, University of Helsinki 

Co-Program Chairs: Heeok Jeong, University of Massachusetts, Amherst & José Ramón Lizárraga, University of Colorado Boulder  

Secretary/Treasurer: Alfredo Jornet Gil, University of Oslo/ Kalonji Nzinga, University of Colorado Boulder 

Website/Communications Chair: Mike Rifino, The Graduate Center 

Please see our Officer Profiles Below! 

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AERA 2021

2021 Call for Submissions-extended_1

Click the link below to read the call for submissions to the 2021 AERA Annual Meeting, from Program Co-Chairs Heeok Jeong and José Ramón Lizárraga.

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Co-Chairs of SIG-30

Arturo Cortez
Teacher Learning, Research & Practice
University of Colorado Boulder

Arturo Cortez is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Learning, Research and Practice at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Broadly, his work is animated by cultural historical activity to explore how teachers collectively design for transformative and humanizing learning environments that leverage the everyday cultural practices of nondominant youth in urban settings. In his work with novice teachers, he intentionally designs for equity to understand the learning processes that emerge as teachers learn how to break away from dominant forms of schooling, opening up opportunities for new relationships between teachers, students, school administration, and community members. Click this link for Dr. Cortez's extended academic bio

Selected Publications 
Gutiérrez, K. D., Espinoza, M., Becker, B., Cortes, K., Cortez, A., Lizárraga, J. R., Rivero, E., Villegas, K., & Yin, P. (co-equal authors). (2019). Youth as Historical Actors in the Production of Possible Futures.  Mind, Culture, and Activity.

Cortez, A. , & Gutiérrez, K. D. (2019). Socio-spatial repertoires as tools for resistance and expansive literacies. In M. P. Pacheco & P. Z. Morales (Eds.), Transforming schooling for second language learners: Policies, pedagogies, and practices. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

Anu Kajamaa
Faculty of Educational Sciences  
University of Helsinki

Anu Kajamaa, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Principal Investigator in the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. She is Co-Leader of an expert group called Learning, Culture and Interventions (LECI) and the Vice Director of the Doctoral Programme of School, Education, Society and Culture (SEDUCE) in the Faculty of Educational Sciences. She is also a Visiting Associate Professor at Aalto University, School of Business (Department of Management Studies) and in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture (Department of Media) in Finland. She serves as the Co-Chair of the Cultural-Historical Research Special Interest Group (SIG) at The Americal Educational Research Association (AERA). She has published over 60 papers in international journals and books, and has received several awards for her research and teaching. Click this link for Dr. Kajamaa's extended academic bio

Selected Publications 
Kajamaa, A., Kumpulainen, K. (2019). (Eds.) Double Special issue: Young people, digital mediation and transformative agency. Mind, Culture and Activity, Volume 26, Issues 3 & 4.

Kajamaa, A. & Kumpulainen, K. (2019). Agency in the Making: Analyzing students’ transformative agency in a school-based makerspace. Mind, Culture and Activity 26(3), 266-281.

Kajamaa, A., Mattick, K., Parker, H., Hilli, A. & Rees, C. (2019). Trainee doctors’ experiences of common problems in the antibiotic prescribing process: an activity theory analysis of narrative data from UK hospitals. BMJ Open 9(6).

Co-Program Chairs

Dr. Jeong Portrait

Heeok Jeong
Education and Curriculum Studies 
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Heeok Jeong, Ph.D. is a visiting scholar and instructor at the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA., Her research addresses, from a cultural-historical perspective, the intersectionality of language, literacy, culture, race, identity, and equity in the education of students from nondominant communities. Specifically, her work focuses on the formation and transformation of pedagogical practices toward culturally sustaining humanizing pedagogy and the impacts of those practices on the identity construction of raciolinguistically marginalized students within and across activity systems in and out of classroom contexts.

Selected Publications 
Jeong, H. (2020). Agency and pedagogy in literacy education: Toward culturally sustaining pedagogy for immigrant adolescentsJournal of Asian Pacific Communication. DOI

Jeong, H. (2019). Resource vs. deficit views about English language learners in classroom practice. G. Onchwari & J. Keengwe (Eds.) Engaging immigrant families and promoting academic success for English language learners (pp.91-111).  Hershey, Pennsylvania.  

José Ramón Lizárraga
Learning Science & Human Development
University of Colorado Boulder

José Ramón Lizárraga is Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As a learning scientist, José uses ethnographic, video, and multimodal research methods to investigate the role of social networks, television, and other digital new media in the learning of teachers and youth. Currently, his work examines the collaborative practices of novice teachers and adolescents at the intersection of virtual and in-person terrains of practice. Click here for Dr. Lizárraga's extended academic bio.

Selected Publications 
Gutiérrez, K. D., Becker, B. L., Espinoza, M. L., Cortes, K. L., Cortez, A., Lizárraga, J. R., Rivero, E., Villegas, K., & Yin, P. (2019). Youth as historical actors in the production of possible futures. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 1-18.

Lizárraga, J.R. & Cortez, A. (2019).  #gentrification, Cultural Erasure, and the (Im)possibilities of Digital Queer Gestures. In A. DeKosnik, K. Feldman (Eds.), #identity: Hashtagging Race, Gender, Sex, and Nation.

Secretary and Treasurer

Alfredo Jornet Gil
Teacher Education & School Research
University of Oslo

Alfredo Jornet Gil's research focuses on cultural, technological, and affective aspects of learning across formal and informal settings, with an emphasis on creativity and pedagogical innovation. Mostly using design-based and participatory ethnography methods, I have conducted research in such diverse contexts as arts-based education, science learning in and outside classrooms, or professional design, with the overall goal of better understanding how people with different backgrounds and interests learn and develop when they work together to imagine and achieve new shared goals. More recently, I work promoting and investigating open-schooling pedagogical innovations as a means to address the needs of school and societal transformation in the current context of environmental crisis and threat to democracy. Click this link for Dr. Gil's extended academic bio.

Selected Publications 
Damsa, Crina I. & Jornet, Alfredo (2020). The unit of analysis in learning research: Approaches for imagining a transformative agenda.  Learning, Culture and Social Interaction.  ISSN 2210-6561.  s 1- 3 . doi: 10.1016/j.lcsi.2020.100407

Jornet, Alfredo (2019). Experience as Emerging Concept in Contemporary Learning Sciences, In Michael A. Peters (ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory.  Springer.  ISBN 978-981-287-532-7.

Kalonji Nzinga
Learning Sciences & Human Development 
University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. Kalonji Nzinga is a cultural psychologist exploring how millennials and post-millennials develop their ethical worldviews. Using methods of validated psychological instruments, clinical interviews, and ethnographic observation he studies how young people come to understand moral concepts like authenticity, loyalty and justice as they grow up.  His research illuminates the polycultural process where young people encounter moral discourses from various traditions; in the form of sacred texts and traditional myths, but also in episodes of Law & Order, rap verses, and the comment threads of Twitter posts.  From these interactions with ideology, young people craft their own hybridized ethical perspectives.  His research has informed the design of various learning environments, multimedia arts exhibitions, and is published in the Journal of Cognition & Culture and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Click this link for Dr. Nzinga's extended academic bio.

Selected Publications 
Kalonji Nzinga (2020). Exploring Fanon’s psychopolitical project as a theory of learning, Mind, Culture, and Activity, DOI: 10.1080/10749039.2020.1716804

Nzinga, K.L.K., & Medin, D.L. (2018). The Moral Priorities of Rap Listeners. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 312-342.

Website/Communications Chair

Mike Rifino
Developmental Psychology - PhD student
The Graduate Center, CUNY

Mike Rifino is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His interest in pursuing an academic career started when he was a LaGuardia Community College student and participated in the Peer Activist Learning Community (PALC), a critical learning community organized with and for LaGCC students. Drawing on a feminist politics of emotion literature, his current research interestes focuses on the ethics and politics of emotions as it relates to learning in community college settings. Mike is currently reserching how the dyanmics of isolation, shame, and individualism are contextuliazed in community college practices such as learning. Additional research interests include exploring how the psychology curriculum enacts oppressive "emotional rules" (Hochschild, 1983) in the context of teaching psychology's contentious classics. Mike’s most recent presentation was accepted by the International Society for Theoretical Psychology  titled, “Contesting the politics of emotions in learning as a community college student. 

Selected Publications 
Sawyer, J. & Rifino, M. (2020). Transforming educational alienation into collective agency in community colleges. In T. M. Ober, E. Che, J. E. Brodsky, C. Raffaele, & P. J. Brooks (Eds.). How We Teach Now: The GSTA Guide to Transformative Teaching (pp. 223-237). Retrieved from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology web site:

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