Andre Gunder Frank

Personal and Professional

Table of Contents
Personal and Professional
Research Interests
ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age
On the New World Order
On-line Essays
IISH Archives
AGF on the Internet
  1. Short Professional Biography
  2. Personal is Political Autobiography
  3. Teaching and Research Appointments
  4. Other Positions/Consultancies
  5. Recent Professional Activities
  6. Honors and Awards
  7. Entries in Biographical Dictionaries
  8. Participation in Professional Associations
  9. Editorial Board Memberships

Short Professional Biography

This biographical note, from the International Institute for Social History, was adapted and updated in Spring 2002.

Andre Gunder Frank was born in Berlin on February 24, 1929. He was economics professor and theorist and one of the founders of the 'Dependence theory', developed in the sixties. In his more recent work he focussed his attention on the analysis of the crisis in world economy and then also on global world history. He was married to Marta Fuentes, with whom he wrote several studies about social movements. They have two sons. She died in Amsterdam in June 1993. Andre Gunder Frank left Germany as a boy when his parents had to escape the Nazi regime. In 1941 they entered the United States.

He was educated at the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1957 with a dissertation on Soviet Agriculture. From 1957 until 1962 he was lecturer and Assistant Professor at the universities of Michigan, Iowa and Wayne State. In 1962 he went to Latin America and became Associate Professor at the University of Brasilia teaching anthroplogical theory. Then he became Extraordinary Professor at the National School of Economics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1965. From 1966 until 1968 he was Visiting Professor at the Departments of Economics and History of the Sir George Williams University, Montreal, Canada. In 1968 he became Professor at the Department of Sociology and the Faculty of Economics, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile, where he was involved in the reforms of the Salvador Allende administration. After the military coup in 1973 he escaped to Europe, where he became Visiting Research Fellow at the Max-Planck Institute in Starnberg, Germany, from 1974 until 1978. In that year he moved to Norwich, England, where he was appointed Professor of Development Studies at the School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia. From 1981 he was also Professor of Development Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, to where he definitely moved in 1983. Besides he had many other temporary visiting appointments and research appointments in among others the USA, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Belgium, Germany and France. In 1994, at the age of 65, Frank went into mandatory retirement from his professorship in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Amsterdam.

Since then, he has been Visiting, Visting Distinguished, and Adjunct Professor at five universities, one in Toronto where he also wrote his latest book ReORIENT, and in 1999-2000 at two in Miami. For the Fall semester of 2001, Frank was Visiting Professor of World History at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and presently is Senior Fellow at the World History Center of Northeastern University in Boston.

So, Frank has taught and and done research in departments of anthropology, economics, geography, history, international relations, political science, and sociology, not to mention interdisciplinary ones, in 9 universities in North America, 3 in Latin America, and 5 in as many countries in Europe. He has also given countless lectures and seminars at many dozens of universities and other institutions all around the world in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German and Dutch.

Andre Gunder Frank has written widely on the economic, social and political history and contemporary development of the world system, the industrially developed countries, and especially of the Third World and Latin America. He has produced over 1000 publications in 30 languages, including 43 book titles in 140 different language editions, and 160+ printings, 169 chapters contributed to 145 books edited by others and a couple by himself, and some 400 articles published in over 600 issues of academic journals, more popular ones, and newspapers. For that reason, he must now regard himself as also being ir/responsible for the waste of it is difficult to estimate how many trees to provide paper for these countless printed pages. Bibliographies of Frank's publications can be found in IISG folder 134, as well as the Publications section and especially in the Bibliography of 880 Publications 1955-1995.

Apart from these listings, further accounts of this academic experience and the development of his work may be found in the [here on-line] auto-bio/bibliographical essay "The Underdevelopment of Development." This essay, taken from a festschrift of the same title in his honour, reviews four decades of involvement in development studies and specifically in developing dependency theory, especially in Latin America in the 1960s, and the 1970s and 1980s during which he dedicated two decades, four books, probably a hundred articles, and still more public interventions to analyzing and forecasting international political economic [IPE] events, cycles and policy formation during the world economic crisis since 1967.

In the 1990s, Frank increasingly turned his attention to world history and produced [with Barry Gills] THE WORLD SYSTEM about the last five thousand years of world history and ReORIENT about most of the last five hundred. The prefaces to both books review the development of Frank's thinking during recent decades and give an account of the history and emergence of theoretical positions and related proposals for further research in these books. These prefaces also discuss the implicit and often explicit dialogue with colleagues whose paths have intersected, paralleled or neither with in the context and that leading up to writing these books.

Personal is Political Autobiography

A more "personal is political" accounting - to borrow a feminist phrase - of my by now more than seven decades of experiences, and especially over the past five decades, appears in the essay "The Cold War and Me" and the 1962-1964 letters, all reproduced in on-line/auto-biographical essays. For those for whom those two dozen pages are too much and/or to pique their interest, I here offer a two page summary 'self-introduction' of the same and more of my personal and political trials and tribulations, which any visitor to this home page can readily skip as well if s/he wants to go on to more listings of professional matters, or just to log out of here altogether. So, here goes.

I was born in Berlin in 1929 and at the age of 4 I left there with my parents, who went to Switzerland as political exiles when Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933. I would return to the place of my birth 40 years later, but by then as a political exile myself and my family from the military coup in Chile in 1973. In the meantime and indeed also since then, my usual stay in any one place around this world lasted one to a couple of years or less. After I arrived in Switzerland, I spent the next 8 years there, but going from each of its three principal language regions to another. I began school in the Italian one for about a year, after I had already spent a previous year in some pre-school boarding institution in the French speaking region, and before I would remain all of 5 years in any one place, but alas confined in a Swiss boarding school in the German speaking region, if any reader knows what THAT means. In 1941, during the second year of World War II in Europe and in my 12th year of age, I left Europe and went to the United States, where I remained until the age of 31, when in 1961 I began my further Oddissey around the world. The only exceptions to my usual 1-2 year stays in one place were 4 years in the same college in the United States and 5 years each in Chile from 1968 to 1973 and then at from 1978 to 1983 in England - until from 1983 to 1993 I lived in Amsterdam for twice my previous 5 year maximum. [By the time he was 20, my elder son had lived in 10 different countries, and some more than once, and now says that he has moved 43 times during his 37 years].

Along the way, I also got a high school and then a college diploma, a masters degree and two doctoral ones [an American PhD in 1957 and a French Doctorat d'Etat in 1978]. But although I had much American schooling, I received very little education if any and learned virtually nothing of any use in any of the many schools that I attended here and there. My real [world] education if any, was derived from hitchhiking across the United States for a distance equivalent to more than two times around the globe at its equator during my teens and early twenties, and since my thirties my sort of medieval type itinerant scholar up and down the Americas and criss-cross around Europe, while travelling, living, and being socially and politically active in literally countelss countries all around the world. On one of my many trips, I met Marta Fuentes and we were married and lived in nearly a dozen countries until cancer took her away in 1993 after over 30 years of our marriage. We had two sons, who recently had two kids of their own, thus making me a grandfather and for some time already also a friend of their respective wives, all of whom now live in Europe. One son is by now fluent in a dozen languages and the other in half a dozen, and their kids are already learning two or three languages each from the world go, while I manage in seven, but in each of them badly at best.

After I lost my first wife, I was re-married to Nancy Howell who had already been my 'sweetheart' well before Marta and I had met, so that by then a good 4 decades had passed between us; yet our recent life and marriage in Toronto then ended in divorce after only 4 years. After that, I moved to Montreal and then so far to Miami, where I met Alison Candela. In the meantime, I had four major operations that kept me alive but at the cost of a few unpleasant after-effects; and I wrote a book between the first and second of them. It is the so far last of three dozen previous book titles in about 135 different editions among my over 1000 publications in 30 languagves. So I am now more than sceptical when, for reasons unknown and to me unimaginable, Alison wants me to write still two more books, one a sequel to my latest academic one, and the other a personal autobiography. I actually started one already in 1986, but I gave up on it after having written the first 10 pages of the introduction to the introduction. Now as for myself, I have good reason to believe that the world can get along quite well without still another book from me, thank you.

But to those that are still with me, I don't want to leave a wrong impression that I have only or even primarily pursued an academic or worse an intellectual career, since the only career I have made is not to have one. On the contrary from along my path through what now seems like a global labyrinth, I can also record countless other more practical both more important and more mundane occupations that re not necessarily unrelated to each other or to my mis-named 'professional' ones. These were also frequently interrupted, or as again now, complemented by quite a lot of unemployment. My jobs began with the usual newspaper route, delivering the OUTLOOK and also working as a gardener in Santa Monica, California. There also, I held down a somewhat less usual job for a 13 year old, working in a liquor store, first in the stockroom and then at the counter selling liquor and mostly beer to the thousands of bathers at the Pacific Ocean beach just across the then US 101, now California 1. At that same beach, I was also 'self-empoyed' as a beach-comber to retrieve the same and other bottles again in order turn them in to my same employer so as to collect the deposits of 2 cents each for 12 oz. and 5 cents each for 32 oz. beer bottles. The job brought me my social security card, and the income went to repeatedly buying eyeglasses to replace the just lost or broken ones, to send money to my working mother in Idaho and Michigan, and then in August 1943 to buy myself a train ticket to take the Union Pacific to go live with her there - as it turned out for six months, until she moved to New York.

So then around my 15th birthday, I decided to remain alone in Ann Arbor to complete the rest of my sophomore and then my junior and senior years of high school. I worked first in a grocery store, then as a waiter, later and after school as janitor in my own school till they fired me and I got a job still in the same building in the Public Library, at then again at other janitorial jobs cleaning junior highs on Saturdays, and later after school washing dishes at the Michigan Union and serving as a model for an art class. My 'free' time was devoted to athletics, mostly competitive long distance running, for three years in high school years, continued for four years in college, and one even in graduate school. It was as a high school runner that my team-mates babtized me with the [nick]name Gunder, which was derived from the Swedish then holder of world records in five events, who like me was always separated from the rest of the field, the difference being that he was a half track ahead and I a half track behind the others. [Being half way out of the field seems to have become some sort of a habit of mine, though since then I seem to have been mostly half a lap ahead of the rest - which entails even more discomfort than being behind!]. The name Andre came later when I myself dropped the last letter from my Andrew in English and Andres in Spanish after a librarian asked me if they these are the same author or not, whose first name was Andreas in German.

Anyway, after high school, I sold magazines door-to-door in Ohio with the come on door opener, as the standard saying went, 'to earn money for college'. In 1946, I actually did that - at Swarthmore in Pennsylvania from which I graduated with honors in 1950. Thereby [excepting the 5 years in the Swiss boarding school], I had now equalled my previous record of 4 years in any one place during the first four years of my life from 1929 to 1933 in Berlin. In my college years and after, I again sold newspaper and worked as a waiter and/or busboy, and after that as well in Atlantic City and San Francisco, near Holland Michigan and near Albuquerque New Mexico, and so on. Along the way here and there, I also picked potatoes, apples and cherries.

During summer vacations in college and for many years after that, I held down all sorts of jobs until I was fired from most of them - always for the same reason: insubordination. These jobs included building pre-fab houses in the Washington DC suburbs, digging ditches and laying the concrete sidewalk from the north-west corner of the campus of the University of Michigan campus to its library, and therefore many years later I could tell my son that I had once made a 'concrete' contribution to his welfare there as a graduate student. In Washington state, I worked in a saw mill and then as a logger, as well as again digging ditches and 'gandy-dancing', that is laying railroad track. In Michigan, I built automobiles at Willow Run [which had been built during World War II to manufacture B 17bombers], and in New Orleans I tended 32 spools in a row of twine to spin them for the International Harvester Corporation. There, I also worked as a private eye, as well as of course in the French Quarter tourist industry as a waiter on Bourbon Street, a picture painter in Jackson Square, and in the Mardi Gras parade walking around dressed as a huge paper-mache Old Gran Dad whisky bottle, on which people knocked asking for samples that I was unable to supply. Alas, I had no ''aptitude'' for any of these: I had taken an employment aptitude test at the Louisiana State Employment Commission, which showed that , as they duly informed me, I had aptitude for NOthing, and especially NO INTELLECTUIAL aptitude. Therefore, they said, I should try my hand at automobile mechanic, as which they however could find no job for me. In San Francisco, I carted refrigerators and similar household equipment up three flights of stairs for a moving company, and for free concert attendance I ushered people up and down the aisles of the San Francisco Opera House. At Union Square, I wrapped Christmas presents in the basement of the fancy I. Magnin department store until I was fired for refusing to warp something too ugly for words and in my opinion for wrapping. In Chicago, I loaded freight cars at night, and in the daytime I was supposed to placate the irate customers of a furniture store whose sales personnel made their sales by promising delivery dates that were impossible to meet. Since I sided more with their innocent customer victims, the sales people had me fired.

This self-training in 'public relations' may have offered me good experience when later in Mexico, I trapsed around rural villages trouble shooting an American company's snafus in 'community development'. In Mexico also, I initiated and then taught the first ever course on Latin American development at the national university UNAM. My Chicago PhD in Economics, yes with Milton Friedman, finally did me some good in Brazil where it proved to be my union card for an appointment to teach anthropology in the still under construction Brasilia where the since then my friend and now late Darcy Ribeiro at the time thought he needed more PhDs on the staff to establish the 'academic legitimacy' of the also still under construction UNB National University of Brazil of which he was founder rector, before he became the head of staff for the President Jango Goulart, until both went into exile after the military coup of March 30, 1964.

The month before, and after our son Paulo was born there, Marta and I had already left Brazil again for Chile, later for Mexico where Miguel was born, then to Montreal, and in 1968 back again to Chile. This time teaching at the University of Chile, I equalled my childhood record of a five year stay in one place. That ended with the September 11, 1973 military coup, which drove my family into permanent exile and for us again new cities in three countries in Europe, all of whose languages my kids had to learn in turn to be able to go to school and otherwise to survive. Me too.

That now leaves almost three decades still to be accounted for. The first two of them I spent with my family until my two sons, first Paulo and then Miguel, went off to college in England in the early 1980s and then my wife Marta died of cancer in Amsterdam in 1993. I took care of her 24 hours a day for her last 6 months.

The first 5 years of these 2 decades we spent in exile in Germany, the only place I could go as a still German citizen, after the also Tuesday September 11 coup and bombing of the presidential palace in Chile with documented direct support of Nixon and Kissinger - which not many people and few Americans but certainly we recalled in 2001. But these first 5 years in Germany were spent in 3 different cities, Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt and in twice as many different houses from September 1973 to August 1974. Then we moved to Frankfurt where we were finally able to live in the same house for 3 years between 1975 and 1978. During these same 3 years, I published 10 different books, some already several years in the pipeline. Nonetheless, though I received two research grants that kept us alive, I was never able to get a regular job for clearly political reasons in Germany. In 1978, the Culture Minister [previously he was a police director !] of the State of Hessen should have formally and routinely approved my professorial appointment for which a university president wanted to hire me. Instead, the Minister personally told the President who also personally reported the same to me that "this Frank will NEVER receive a university appointment here," after three years earlier he had already closed an opening for which I was first on the short list] at the University of Frankfurt, which is why we had moved to that city in the first place. So we left Germany after I accepted a professorship at the University of East Anglia in England where my sons then finished school and went to college, and Marta also went to college at my university.

We left England in 1983, because Marta was unable any longer to abide its racism - and my sons only later told me that they too were similarly discriminated against - after I was offered a professorship at the University of Amsterdam. I would spend 10 years there plus 2 years commuting back and forth weekly between there and England while first Marta and then Miguel finished their schools. That was over two times as long as I had ever been anywhere else in my life before: 3 times 5 years in England and Chile and before that in boarding school in Switzerland; two times 4 years, my first four in Berlin and then 4 years at Swarthmore College in the USA; 3 years at Ann Arbor High School, and 2 years or less in lots of other places in North and South America. But my stay in Amsterdam until my obligatory retirement at 65 in 1994 was prolonged, because I was unable to get a job anywhere else. During a decade in the 1980s and early 1990s, I had applied for 80 different publicly advertised teaching jobs in North America, almost all in the United States. I was short listed for 5 of them, interviewed for 3 of these; and of the 80, I got 0. As already related above, a year after Marta's death, in 1994, I moved to Toronto to live with and then marry Nancy Howell, with whom I had already lived in 1959-61, until after 40 years of reflection she changed her mind and kicked me out. Then after a year licking my wounds in Montreal, in 1999 I went to Miami and met Alison Candela who has lovingly put up with me ever since. We married in July 2003.

The online essays section contains several essays that go into considerable detail about my personal, professional and political development and experience. Many of these are autobiographical essays and bibliographies, written in English. Others are biographies about my work and me, written by others in various languages. These essays differ in focus and coverage according to each author's interests or audience, and mine vary in accord with my purpose and audience for each particular essay. There are graphic overlaps of coverage among the essays, and sometimes the same ground is covered in different contexts.

Teaching and Research Appointments

2004 - Universita di Calabria, Italia
Visiting Professor, Dipartimento di Sociologia

2002 - Northeastern University
Senior Fellow, World History Center

2001 - University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Visiting Professor of History

1999 - 2000 University of Miami
Visiting Professor of International Studies

1999 - 2000 Florida International University
Visiting Distinguished Professor of International Studies

1996-98 - University of Toronto, Canada
Graduate Faculty [Sociology]

1981-94 University of Amsterdam, Holland
Professor of Development Economics & Social Sciences

1978-83 University of East Anglia, Norwich, England
Professor of Development Studies in Social Change

1974-78 Max Planck Institut, Starnberg, Germany
Visiting Research Fellow

1968-73 University of Chile, Santiago
Professor of Sociology and Economics

1966-68 Sir George Williams University, Montreal, Canada
Visiting Professor of History and Economics

1965-66 National Autonomous University of Mexico
Visiting Professor of Economics

1963 University of Brasilia
Associate Professor of Anthropology

1957-61 Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA
Lecturer and then Assistant Professor of Economics

1956-57 Iowa State University, Ames, USA
Instructor of Economics

Other Positions/Consultancies

1994 University of Newcastle, Visiting Researcher
1990 UNESCO Silk Roads Expedition, Xinjiang, China
1988 University of Minnesota, Exchange Prof. of History
1986 Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Visiting Fellow
1983 UNESCO & Chinese Academy Social Sciences Consultant
1981 New School for Social Research, New York, USA
1979 Boston University, USA, Visiting Prof. of Sociology
1978 University of Paris VIII, France
1973 Free University of Berlin, Germany
1971 Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium
1968 UN International Labour Organisat.Field Office,Chile
1964 UN Economic Commission of Latin America Consultant VITIES

Recent Professional Activities

American, Arizona, Arizona State, Bucknell, California at Berkeley/Davis/Irvine/Los Angeles/San Diego/Santa Cruz/Riverside, CUNY, Delaware, Denver, Florida International, George Mason, Hawaii, Harvard, Hopkins, Howard, Humboldt State, Illinois, Illinois Wesleyan, Loyola, Miami, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Monterrey Inst.International Studs., NYU, Northeastern, Ohio State, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Sacramento State, San Diego State, Swarthmore, Syracuse, Wellesley, Whittier, Wooster

Simon Fraser, Toronto, York, Queens, Guelph, Victoria

Oxford, London, Newcastle

Additional Countries:
Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, ex-Jugoslavia, Sweden, Spain, Czech Rep. Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Russia, China, Japan, Iran.

Honors and Awards

  • International Studies Association, International Political Economy Section, First Annual Eminent Senior Scholar 1989
  • MacArthur Foundation Program on Peace & International Cooperation, Research and Writing Grant 1990
  • World Society Foundation, Research and Writing Grant 1996-7
  • Festschrift The Underdevelopment of Development: Essays in Honor of Andre Gunder Frank, S.Chew & R.Denemark, Eds. Sage 1996
  • Political Economy of the World-System Section of the American Sociological Association, Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award 1997
  • World History Association, First Book Prize 1999
  • Political Economy of the World-System Section of the American Sociological Association, Book Award 2000 for ReORIENT

Entries in Biographical Dictionaries

  • Who's Who in the World, 10th-12th eds. [Chicago]
  • Harper Collins Dictionary of Sociology [London]
  • Biographical Dictionary of Dissenting Economists [London]
  • Okonomen-Lexikon [Berlin]
  • Emigration deutschprachiger Wirtschaftswissenschaftler [Germ.]
  • Diccionario de Economia, R. Tamames. Ed. [Madrid]
  • Diccionario de Economia, S.A. Brand, Ed. [Bogota]
  • Latinamericanists in Europe, CEDLA [Amsterdam]
  • Economic Thought Since Keynes. A History and Dictionary of [150] Major Economists [French ed.: Paris , English ed.: London/New York]
  • Fifty Key Thinkers in International Relations [by Martin Griffiths, London: Routledge 2000,]
  • 200 Grandes Economistas,

Participation in Professional Associations

  • International Studies Association
  • World Association of International Relations
  • World History Association
  • New England Historical Association
  • International Political Science Association
  • International Sociological Association
  • International Society for Comparative Study of Civilizations
  • World Futures Society
  • Prehistoric Society
  • American Political Science Association
  • Political Economy of World Systems Section of the American Sociological Association
  • American Anthropological Association
  • Social Science History Association

Editorial Board Memberships

  • Review of International Political Economy, Sussex
  • Third World Quarterly, London
  • Society and Nature, London/Athens/Littleton, CO USA
  • Dialectical Anthropology, New York/Amsterdam
  • Scandinavian Journal of Development Alternatives
  • Journal of Social Studies, Dhacca
  • Social Identities, Oxfordshire
  • Passages, New York
  • Inner Asia, London
  • Campus Social, Lisboa

Table of Contents
Personal and Professional
Research Interests
ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age
On the New World Order
On-line Essays
IISH Archives
AGF on the Internet