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Dr. Gergen was interviewed via Skype by Laureano Ralon on June 5th, 2011 as part of the Figure/Ground Communication scholarly interview series: http://www.figureground.ca/interviews/ Kenneth J. Gergen is an American psychologist and professor at Swarthmore College. He obtained his B.A. at Yale University in 1957 and his Ph.D. at...
Kenneth J. Gergen is an American psychologist and professor at Swarthmore College. He obtained his B.A. at Yale University in 1957 and his Ph.D. at Duke University in 1962. The son of John J. Gergen, the Chair of the Mathematics Department at Duke University, Gergen grew up in Durham, North Carolina. He had three brothers, one of whom is David Gergen, the prominent political analyst. After completing public schooling, he attended Yale University. Graduating in 1957, he subsequently became an officer in the U.S. Navy. He then returned to graduate school at Duke University, where he received his PhD in psychology in 1963. His dissertation advisor was Edward E. Jones. Gergen went on to become an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Relations at Harvard University, where he also became the Chairman of the Board of Tutors and Advisors for the department and representative to the university’s Council on Educational Policy. In 1967 Gergen took a position as Chair of the Department of Psychology at Swarthmore College, a position he held for ten years. At various intervals he served as visiting professor at the University of Heidelberg, the University of Marburg, the Sorbonne, the University of Rome, Kyoto University, and Adolfo Ibanez University. At Swarthmore he spearheaded the development of the academic concentration in Interpretation Theory. In an attempt to link his academic work to societal practices he collaborated with colleagues to create the Taos Institute in 1996. He is currently a Senior Research Professor at Swarthmore, the Chairman of the Board of the Taos Institute, and an adjunct professor at Tilburg University. His most recent book is Relational Being.