Instances of mentorship and collaboration represent a vital but often undocumented element of the field of writing studies, one that shapes our profession and helps to form and inform the trends in our scholarship and pedagogy. In this webtext, we discuss the Writing Studies Tree (WST), writingstudiestree.org, which scales between direct interpersonal relationships and the composition of the field as a whole, as an instance of and an argument for using academic genealogy to understand these complex networks within writing studies.
In the cross-linked sections that follow, we explore the design of the WST prototype as an intervention in both writing studies and the study of academic genealogy. We articulate the many exigencies for a project like the WST and explain the design choices we have made in response. Finally, through a discussion of applications of the WST in pedagogical, scholarly, and professional contexts, we argue for data-driven academic genealogy as a valuable framework for understanding how influence circulates within writing studies.