Professor Listing


Rick Szostak, PhD, BA

Professor and Department Chair



About Me

Rick Szostak joined the Department of Economics at the University of Alberta in 1985. He served as Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts from 2002 to 2005, was President of the Association of Academic Staff at the University of Alberta from 1995 to 1996, President of the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations from 1996 to 1998, and Associate Chair (Undergraduate) in Economics 2012 to 2015. He has become Chair of the Department of Economics as of July 1, 2017. His B.A. is from McGill and his PhD from Northwestern University. Szostak's research interests span the fields of economic history, methodology, history of technology, ethics, study of science, information science, world history, and the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity. He has served on the Board of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies for most of the last decade, and was President 2011-4. He has served on the governing councils of the interdisciplinary programs in Humanities Computing, Science Technology and Society, and Religious Studies at the University of Alberta. He has spent sabbatical leaves at the University of New South Wales and European University Institute in Florence. He has taught courses in economic history, economic growth and development, microeconomics, interdisciplinarity, and science technology and society. In 2007, he taught at the University of Alberta Faculty of Arts study-abroad program in Cortona, Italy. He is the author of a dozen books, 50 journal articles, and 20 book chapters. His recent research agenda is described on his webpage.  


Details on my research can be found on my webpage at

There are four sets of webpages attached to my website worthy of note:

1) About Interdisciplinarity

This set of webpages is a project of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies led by me that provides an overview of the diverse literature on interdisciplinarity, stressing key definitions, history, and especially best practices for interdisciplinary research, teaching, administration, and policy advice. See

2) Basic Concepts Classification

This set of webpages describes the Basic Concepts Classification, an approach to general classification that takes a synthetic approach using basic concepts: those that lend themselves to broadly shared understandings across groups and individuals. See:

3) An outline of my Classifying (Mapping) Scholarship Project is available at:

4) My most recent research project, Making Sense of World History, is described at:

There are also appendices to several papers that can be accessed from my publications page at: