Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Academic Relatives

This does not refer to blood relatives I have that work in academia. Although I did have one second cousin who taught at Oxford and my father held positions at University of Queensland and Virginia Tech. No it refers to people with the same lineage of supervisors as me. The Little Professor had a blog post that dealt with this subject a while ago. At anyrate this lineage at one time had great importance. It no longer has any practical influence. If it was still important I would be working at a first rate university now. My Doktorgrossvater is Rashid Khalidi. Unfortunately the days when my supervisor could call up Professor Khalidi and get me a job are long gone.

I bring this up because I got an e-mail today from my Doktorschwester in Turkey. I get so little real e-mail that I can almost justify a blog post for each separate piece. She is the only one of six academic siblings I even know. She started the year before me and finished the year after me. The e-mail, however, reminded me of the post at The Little Professor and got me thinking about the idea of academic lineages. My supervisor did not have alot of influence upon my dissertation. He is an Ottoman historian specializing in 19th century education and I wrote about Soviet deportations. They assigned me to him because two of the three deported peoples in my dissertation had been associated with the Ottoman Empire prior to coming under Russian rule. He pretty much gave me a free hand in writing the thesis. So there is not any geneology of intellectual influence that can be traced from my work back through my supervisor to Khalidi.

Geneological charts, however, have two directions. They show descendants as well as ancestors. Now it is true I do not have any formal students as official advisees to carry on my scholastic genes. Guru Pohl, however, does have a number of informal students whose work does show his influence. In the future I hope to be able to map a huge intellectual dynasty with numerous descendants.

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