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POSTPONED! Moved to January 23rd, 2014 at 3pm

Jeremy Burman

I am presently the Director of Research at The MEHRIT Centre, a non-profit spin-off of a research institute that had been based at York from 2005-2013. I was also recently named the Norman S. Endler Research Fellow and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellow at York University. Normally, though, I would be teaching introductory and advanced developmental psychology. My primary interest, there, is in helping students to help children. And, in this, my goals as a teacher relate to my primary concerns as a writer.

As an historian and theoretician, my contribution to the science of psychology comes by way of clearly explaining ideas that have previously not been well-understood, or which have been dismissed for reasons that no longer make sense. To this end, I have found that there is nothing better to encourage clear thinking than interacting with students in the classroom or with peers at conference talks and colloquia: if they’re bored, or can’t understand, then the writing won’t be effective either. My goal is therefore to entertain and explain, both in class and outside of it; this material is difficult, but it doesn't have to be painful.

My paper for HT-Talks is the first part of a two-part presentation with Laura Ball about “knowledge translation.” I will introduce translation as a problem affecting how psychologists understand the sources of their ideas. This is obvious when the importations are from “foreign” sources, but much more pernicious when they’re from other disciplines. (I talked about this latter problem specifically when I discussed “the misunderstanding of memes” at HT-Talks a few years ago.) I will also present some of the methods that I have been developing in order to demonstrate that this problem is in fact a source of opportunity for historians, some of which are “digital.”

My primary “topic affiliation” is to the history of developmental psychology, with particular emphasis on the last works of Jean Piaget. But I think of my project as epistemological: I am not so much concerned with the “content” of Piaget’s so-called “new theory” as I am with the fact that we call it “new.” (They don’t do that in French.) Indeed, this focus on meaning seems to be the theme underlying most of my work. And it’s the main focus of my dissertation, which I aim to complete in time for the Summer 2014 start times posted for most new faculty hires.

My work is discussed and described at my website:

I would be delighted to discuss any of it with anyone who cares.


  • Address: BSB 163, York University
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