David Schweingruber


My Academic Lineage

Academic lineage refers to a sequence of Ph.D. advisors. My own lineage consists of four sociologists and four psychologists, beginning with Williams James, an M.D. who thus had no Ph.D. advisor. Apparently many American psychologists can also trace their lineage to James.

William James (1842-1910) was a pioneering American psychologist and one of the founders of pragmatist philosophy. He received an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1869 and spent his career as a Harvard faculty member. His many influential books include Principles of Psychology (1890), The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), Pragmatism (1907) and The Meaning of Truth (1909).

Granville Stanley Hall (1844-1924) received a Ph.D. in psychology under James at Harvard in 1878 with a dissertation titled The Perception of Space. His was the first Ph.D. in psychology awarded in the United States and he went on to supervise a majority of American psychology Ph.Ds in the 19th century. He founded the first American psychological research laboratory (at Johns Hopkins University) and the American Journal of Psychology. He became the first president of the American Psychological Association in 1892 and was president of Clark University from 1899-1920. A pioneer of survey research, he also was interested in racial eugenics and the supposed differences between men and women. On a lighter note, he posited two types of tickling (knismesis and gargalesis).

Edmund Clark Sanford (1859-1924) received his Ph.D under Hall at Johns Hopkins in 1888 with a dissertation titled The Relative Legibility of the Small Letters and then moved with him to Clark University. He was present at the founding of the American Psychological Association and served as its 11th president in 1902.

Lewis Terman (1877-1956) received a Ph.D. in psychology under Sanford at Clark University in 1905 with a dissertation titled Genius and Stupidity: A Study of Some Intellectual Processes in Seven “Bright” and Seven “Stupid” Boys.

He was on the faculty of Stanford University from 1910 until his death. He was chair of the department from 1922-1945. He developed the Stanford-Binet IQ test, the M-F test, and the concept of “gifted children.” A believer in inherited IQ differences between races and social classes and a promoter of eugenics, he arguably caused more human misery than anyone else in my lineage. He was president of the American Psychological Association in 1923. (Some sources have Hall as Terman's mentor, omitting Sanford from the lineage. However, according to Terman's autobiography, after he decided to do his Ph.D. research on the experimental study of mental tests, he chose Sanford over Hall, who “expressed very emphatically his disapproval of mental tests.”)

Kimball Young (1893-1972) received a Ph.D. in psychology under Terman at Stanford in 1921 with a dissertation titled Mental Differences in Certain Immigrant Groups: Psychological Tests of South Europeans in Typical California Schools with Bearing on the Educational Policy and on the Problems of Racial Contacts in this Country. However, he was a sociologist and the 35th president of the American Sociological Association (in 1943). He received his master’s degree in sociology at the University of Chicago in 1918 under Robert Park. (His thesis was titled Sociological Study of a Disintegrated Neighborhood.) He also studied there with W.I. Thomas and George Herbert Mead, key developers of symbolic interactionism. He was a grandson of Brigham Young. (More about Young)

Manford Kuhn (1911-1963) received a Ph.D. in sociology under Young at the University of Wisconsin in 1941 with a dissertation titled The Contribution of Sigmund Freud to Social Science: A Critical Analysis. He was a faculty member at the University of Iowa, where he founded the Iowa School of Symbolic Interactionism. Kuhn criticized the Chicago School of Herbert Blumer on several grounds: He viewed social structure as a more important constraint on individuals than Blumer did; he conceptualized the self as a structure as well as a process; and he advocated the use of a wider range of methods, including quantitative ones, than did Blumer. He is most famous for developing the Twenty Statements Test, which asked for 20 answers to the question “Who Am I?” He served as president of the Midwest Sociological Society in 1962-63.

Robert Stewart received his Ph.D. in sociology under Kuhn at the University of Iowa in 1955 with a dissertation titled The Self and Other Objects: Their Measurement and Interrelationships. He is currently distinguished professor emeritus of sociology at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of Living and Acting Together (1998), a book which had a great influence on me during my graduate training, where I was able to read it in manuscript form. In it he argues that living and working with other people does not come naturally, but requires the creation of social arrangements to make people trustworthy and predictable.

Clark McPhail received his Ph.D. in sociology under Stewart at Michigan State University in 1965 with a dissertation titled Self Identification within a Specific Context of Experience and Behavior. He joined the sociology faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1969 and became an emeritus professor in 1999. He has spent four decades studying prosaic, religious, sport and political gatherings (also known as “crowds”). His book The Myth of the Madding Crowd (1991) critiques past armchair speculation on the crowd and charts a new course for crowd research with an emphasis on purposive actors. He has served as president of the Midwest Sociological Society (1992-1993) and in 2005 was awarded the George Herbert Mead Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction.

David Schweingruber received his Ph.D. under McPhail at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1999 with a dissertation titled Building Character and Producing Door-to-Door Salespersons. I am currently an associate professor of sociology at Iowa State University, where I do sociological research in the symbolic interactionist tradition.


Megan Nielsen received her Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 2008 with a dissertation titled Meaning-Making among Young Adult Cohabitors. She is an associate professor of sociology at Midland University.

Laurie Linhart received her Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 2013 with a dissertation titled Narrating a Second Chance: Seeking Reprieve from a Life Sentence. She is an assistant professor of sociology at Des Moines Area Community College.

Angie Carter received her Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 2015 with a dissertation titled “We love this land, and we want to take care of this land”: Iowa Women Farmland Owners Constructing and Contesting Narratives. Her co-advisor was Rebecca Christoffel. Angie is a teaching fellow at Augustana College.