Berkeley Branches and Twigs: Carl O. Sauer’s Genealogical Academic “Tree” Updated

Authors: Kent Mathewson*, Louisiana State University
Topics: History of Geography, Cultural Geography, Latin America
Keywords: Carl Sauer, Berkeley Geography, Academic Genealogy, History of Geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Virginia C, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper presents the current results of on-going research on Carl Sauer’s “academic family or genealogical tree.” The literature on geographers’ academic “family trees” is extremely limited. Extensive search of the literature has yielded only a few examples: Allen Bushong’s 1981 “Geographers and Their Mentors: A Genealogical View of American Academic Geography” and Robert West’s “The Contribution of Carl Sauer to Latin American Geography” (West provided a table depicting Latin Americanist PhDs 1930-1979 in the “Sauer line”). Keying on West’s table I published a short article (1999) on Sauer-line Latin Americanists legatees out to the fifth generation. By the turn of the millennium, there were over 150 dissertators in the Sauer Latin Americanist line, starting with Fred B. Kniffen in 1930. Since then, the number has more than doubled. More recently I’ve undertaken an updating of the Latin Americanist tree, and expanded the study to include all of Sauer’s PhD progeny into the sixth generation. This paper updates the Sauer Latin Americanist “tree,” and charts the growth of the total tree (for all regions and topical foci), including directions that the branches have taken -- and the trends these suggest. It appears that the Sauer genealogical tree is among the largest, if not the largest, in North American geography, and includes a number of topical foci that diverge significantly from the first generations’ concentration on physiography and cultural-historical topics.

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