Finding Your (Academic) Roots

There’s a nifty website where you can trace out the intellectual lineage of your favorite academic (or not so favorite, as the case may be). Here’s mine:

The institutions are those the individual is associated with (either as a graduate, or as a faculty member — it’s not always clear from how things are listed, so  you have to click to see more).

This tree was a revelation to me, the British branch in particular. Nor was I aware of the economic history branch which included Alexander Gerschenkron (who was also an adviser for the first person I RA’d for at graduate school, Albert Fishlow).

If you’re interested in only economics, then go to this link. Since the information is put in voluntarily, there’s no guarantee of accuracy of completeness. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting tabulation. If you don’t find yourself there, you can add your information (but you’ll have to register).

By the way, note that these lists show dissertation committee members or just dissertation advisers, but of course other people can be influential teachers even without serving on their committees.



8 thoughts on “Finding Your (Academic) Roots

  1. Barkley Rosser

    I am not going to get into all those complications as my field and my committee changed a lot. So here is just the main line back from my major professor at UW-Madison, Gene Smolensky, who left for Berkeley to be dean of the grad school of public policy there. His major prof at Penn was Richard Easterlin, still alive and active, whose major prof also at Penn was Simon Kuznets, whose major prof at Columbia was Wesley Clair Mitchell, who founded the NBER, whose major prof at Chicago was Thorstein Veblen, whose PhD was in philosophy at Yale. Of course Kuznets, whom I never met, got one of the first Nobels.

  2. Moses Herzog

    I would tend to take more interest in the student mentor tree vs the professional one because I think those people would tend to have a bigger impact. Things tend to hit you harder in your youth. I’m sure there’s exceptions, but I’m speaking in a general sense. For example I took more interest in Shakespeare in my early 30s, but in high school and college I utterly detested anything Shakespeare. I mean hate probably isn’t too strong a word. But then I got older and suddenly it seemed to have more value. But I think your influencers between Freshman year and post-grad degrees are the ones that really are going to impact a person.

    Nice post and interesting link.

  3. Moses Herzog

    Am I doing this wrong, or is Gita Gopinath’s tree totally unfilled?? This seems like an injustice to humanity. A near outrage in fact. It only shows one Korean punk underneath her, but none of her advisers.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Any ideas on a smart-aleck registration name?? I’m about to test my own creativity and the webmaster’s tolerance. This is either going to be a laugh riot or an undertaking in aggravation. Wish me luck kids, I’m in bad need of entertainment this weekend,

      A man has to do what a man has to do, damn. it. Like Wade Whitehouse once said “Right’s right!!!”

    2. Moses Herzog

      [ sings loudly in children’s rhyme sing-songy style ] I just fixed Gita Gopinath’s tree-eeeee!!! I just fixed Gita Gopinath’s tree-eeeeeee!!!

      I’d like to add her University of Washington prof stuff but I don’t know who it was. I think I should find it with some digging, if anyone out there happens to know Miss Gopinath’s WU profs feel happy to make a peep here in the thread. Once I just put in two names for her PhD stuff, a ton of names, like 8 names filled in at the back of the tree, so that was cool.

      Hmmmm. a minuscule type task, and yet I feel so juiced about it. Perhaps one more added hobby or a mental health check-up is in order.

      1. Moses Herzog

        “Reverse engineer” her Google scholar page?? I mean she was getting awards at Washington, that Master’s paper has to be there, right?? and somewhere in the paper she thanks her connected profs?? Give that a try later. Search by her Master’s graduation year I would think would nab the prof names.

        1. Moses Herzog

          no such luck. Well, maybe people aren’t so curious about a Master’s thesis advisor vs the PhD advisor. I can’t help but still be curious, but I guess it’s not something to obsess over.

  4. Moses Herzog

    Menzie, I about fell out of my seat when I noticed no one had done Gopinath’s tree yet. Can you guess the very next one I tried who had no tree filled in??? Dani Rodrik. Once I put in Dixit’s name, 7 more names filled in at the back of Rodrik’s tree, including Solow. I’m starting to wonder how many BIG names are not filled in on this tree. The site must be pretty damned new is all I can say about that.

Comments are closed.