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Office hours: Professor Gordon Hanson

Gordon Hanson at his desk

The GPS faculty member opens up about some of the dearest objects that adorn his office, painting a picture of his professional backstory and personal interests

By Amy Robinson | GPS News


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Newly off his yearlong deanship at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), professor Gordon Hanson is looking forward to settling back into his faculty office.

Ahead of the start of the fall quarter, we knocked on the economist’s office door and asked him to point out a couple of meaningful objects in his workspace.

The first thing you notice is his appreciation for art. Ranging from a work created by his daughter to commemorate family surfing vacations in Costa Rica, to 20th century Chinese modern art purchased from the famed 798 Art Zone when on sabbatical, each piece has an amazing backstory.

His walls and shelves are also lined with memories from his global travels, including a carved parrot he brought back from a yearlong graduate-school fellowship in Peru and Honduras in the mid-1980s, during the middle of the U.S.-sponsored contra war.

Like most economists, he’s efficient in his shelf space and you’ll see a pile of books outside of his door with a “free” sign taped to the wall.

Yet there are many from which he can’t part, including an original copy of Jacob Viner’s 1937 book “Studies in the Theory of International Trade,” which was a gift from a Ph.D. student he mentored. One of the great, early trade economists, Hanson shared that he uses the insights from Viner’s models today, but in a more modern context.

Hover over the image above for the big picture on his professional backstory and personal interests.