Interdisciplinarity: Thinking & Navigating
Friday 6th June 2014
The call to ‘interdisciplinarity’ has been with us for decades. By now, for many working academics the word merely tags modi operandi to which they have long since subscribed. For others, it is mainly a box that needs to be ticked, willy-nilly, to make one’s research sound up-to-date and relevant to funding bodies and other agents for the management of academic life. For others still, it portends the demise of academia as we know it, to be replaced either with a utopia of a post-disciplinary world of problem-led intellectual creativity or, alternatively, with a dystopian victory of neoliberal academic management over the life of the mind. Amidst all the talk – wide-eyed or sceptical, vested or aloof – we are all called upon to navigate our academic lives within, between, and across disciplines. Most of us have a story or two to tell about it. Some of us have even ventured to turn interdisciplinary collaborations into an object, rather than just a manner, of study.
The purpose of this half-Friday Forum is to bring together people from across UCL to discuss the very idea of ‘bringing together people’, which underwrites interdisciplinary research as an intellectual value as well as an academic practice. The idea is to instigate a conversation between people who are in different ways invested in interdisciplinary research and teaching across the Faculties of UCL (and note the structural tension in that phrase), including colleagues who have focused their own research on the ideas and practices associated with it. Opening up the notion of interdisciplinarity for intellectual interrogation, the discussion will bring into the mix a series of ‘tales’ by staff and graduate students who have reckoned with it in practice, to explore ways in which our understanding of what interdisciplinarity is, and what it could become, might be expanded.
information contact Dr Martin Holbraad (firstname.lastname@example.org), Vice-Dean for Interdisciplinarity at
the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences.
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Martin Holbraad (Anthropology, SHS Vice-Dean for Interdisciplinarity)
The problem of interdisciplinarity
Andrew Barry (Geography)
Chiara Ambrosio (STS)
Roundtable I - Tales of interdisciplinary thinking. (Chair: Martin Holbraad - Anthropology, SHS Vice-Dean for Interdisciplinarity)
“'Tis a tale told by an
idiot"? The place of History
Roundtable II – Tales of interdisciplinary navigation (Chair: Stephanie Bird – German, A&H Vice-Dean for Interdisciplinarity)
Tales: interdisciplinary study amidst disciplinary structures
Closing Remarks & Discussion
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