Interdisciplinarity is one of the enduring keywords of academia in the past decade. I’ve been hearing it praised for so long now and seeing so little actual evidence of it, that I’m beginning to think all the praise is simply wish-fulfillment. And like most wishes, the wisher probably wouldn’t know what to do with it if it ever came true.
In the humanities, the closest we come to interdisciplinarity is arranging a panel which brings together a literary scholar, a historian, and maybe an artist, all talking about something entirely different. But they’re all on the same panel. And that’s interdisciplinarity.
It seems to me that if interdisciplinarity is happening at all at the university level, it is in the sciences. Chemists, physicists, and biologists have a lot more to say to each other–and work to produce together–than we in the humanities will ever admit to ourselves.
I wonder, what true interdisciplinary projects could bring together scholars and researchers from different fields in the humanities? What would such a project look like?
KOAN: A professor of poststructuralist literary theory, 17th century Armenian history, and Greek epic poetry walk into a bar. The bartender looks at the three and says, what is this, some kind of joke?