Vera John Steiner
Regents Professor, Emerita (1930 - 2017)

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Since my retirement a few years ago I've continued to publish, including a jointly authored book with Reuben Hersh called Loving and Hating Mathematics, several chapters on creativity and collaboration, and a lecture on exile. In all of these activities, the cognitive and interactional functions of language are paramount. I've also been involved in the publication of my selected works which will be forthcoming in 2014 to be published by Peter Lang.

Research Interests

Cultural-historical theory, cognitive psychology, creative collaboration, cross-cultural education, bilingualism, psychology of women, and psycholinguistics.

Selected Publications


  • John-Steiner, V. (2000). Creative collaboration. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • John-Steiner, V. (1997). Notebooks of the mind: explorations of thinking. (Rev. ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • John-Steiner, V., Panofsky, C., & Smith, L. (Eds.) (1994). Sociocultural approaches to language & literacy: an interactionist perspective. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cole, M., John-Steiner, V., Scribner, S., & Souberman, S. (Eds.). (1978). Mind in society: the development of higher psychological processes.Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • John-Steiner, V., Cazden, C., & Hymes, D. (Eds.). (1972). The functions of language in the classroom. New York: Teacher’s College Press.
  • John-Steiner, V. (1971). Early childhood bilingual education. New York: Modern Language Association.

Recent articles, chapters and monographs:

  • John-Steiner, V. & Mahn, H. (in Press 2002). The gift of confidence: A Vygotskian view of emotions. Learning for life in the 21rst century: Sociocultural perspectives on the future of education.
  • John-Steiner, V. & Mahn, H. (in Press, 2002). Sociocultural context to learning. Comprehensive handbook of psychology, Volume VII: Educational psychology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • John-Steiner, V. & Moran, S. (in Press, 2002). Creativity in the making. Creativity and Development Counterpoint Series., Oxford University Press.
  • John-Steiner, V., Mehan, T., & Shank, C. (in Press, 2002). Narrative co-construction of collaborative experience. Narrative Interaction. Edited by Uta Quasthoff.
  • John-Steiner, V. & Minnis, M. (Fall, 2001). Perspectives on activity theory. Human Development.
  • John-Steiner, V. (1999). Sociocultural and feminist theory: Mutuality and relevance. In Chaiklin, S., Hedegaard, M., & Jensen, U.J. (Eds.), Activity theory and social practice: Cultural-historical approaches. (Chapter 11). Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.
  • John-Steiner, V. & Meehan, T. M. (1999). Creativity and collaboration in knowledge construction. In Lee, C.D. & Smagorinsky, P. (Eds.), Vygotskian perspectives on literacy research: constructing meaning through collaborative inquiry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • John-Steiner, V., Weber, R. J., & Minnis, M. (1998). The challenge of studying collaboration. American Educational Research Journal, 35 , (4), Winter, 773 - 784.
  • John-Steiner, V., Meehan, T.M., & Mahn, H. (1998). A functional systems approach to cognitive development. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 5, (2), 127 - 134.
  • John-Steiner, V., & Mahn, H. (1998). Introduction to special issue on concept formation. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 5, (2), 81 - 88.
  • John-Steiner, V., Wardekker, W. L., & Mahn, H. (Eds.) (1998). Concepts, contexts, and transformation. Special Issue Monograph in Mind, Culture, and Activity Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • John-Steiner, V. & Mahn, H. (1996). Sociocultural approaches to learning and development: A Vygotskian framework. Educational Psychologist, 31, 191 - 206.
  • John-Steiner, V. (1996). Women’s collaborative interactions. In Slobin, D. I., Gerhardt, J., Kyratzis, A., & Guo, J. (Eds.), Social interaction, social context, and language: Essays in honor of Susan Ervin-Tripp. (pp. 545 - 553). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • John-Steiner, V. (1995). Cognitive pluralism: A sociocultural approach. Mind, Culture, and Activity, Winter 2, (1), 2 - 11.
  • John-Steiner, V., Meehan, T.M., & Kennedy, C. (1995). The implications of “First language acquisition as a guide for theories of learning and pedagogy” in a pluralistic world. Linguistics and Education, 7, 369 - 378.

Awards and Grants

  • National Science Foundation (with Professors M. Minnis and R. Weber), "Complex Collaborations," 1995-1996.
  • University of New Mexico, College of Education RAC grant for "Shared and Contrasting Perceptions of Collaboration by Dyads and Small Groups," 1995.
  • University of New Mexico, College of Education OFAC grant for "Collaborative Cognition: A Study of Patterns and Practices," 1994.


  • Member, Editorial Board, Mind, Culture and Activity, 1995-2017.
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Narrative and Life History, 1993-2017.
  • Member, Editorial Board, Linguistics and Education, 1993-2017.
  • Member of American Psychological Association, Linguistics Society of America.
  • Reviewer for grant applications and professional journals:
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • National Science Foundation
  • National Institute of Education
  • Oxford University Press, 2000
  • Journal of Educational Psychology
  • Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
  • Journal of Applied Linguistics
  • Language
  • Mind, Culture and Activity
  • Contemporary Psychology
  • Semiotica
  • Cognitive Development

Teaching Interests

Professor, University of New Mexico, Linguistics, and Education: Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies, 1974 to 2017.

Representative courses

  • Educational Collaboration and Partnerships
  • Psychology of Creativity
  • The Life and Works of L.S. Vygotsky
  • The Psychological Development of Women
  • Seminar in Language Acquisition
  • Thought and Language