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What Is Interdisciplinarity?

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From Gideon:

Hi everyone:

My proposal for a symposium topic is this:

"When we look to each other, what should we see?" University Scholars look at the interdisciplinary venture.

That's right. We're all here to use cross discipline, multi-faceted, and boundary breaking thinking, and yet we've never taken a look at what inter-discipline thinking really means.

Are you still reading?

This can have many implications. Such as:

Are there disciplines that will never get along? (Arts vs. Sciences, Poetry vs. Engineering)

Are there fields of study that have been negatively impacted by interdisciplinary thought? What makes some interdisciplinary ventures more successful than others?

Past attempts at unifying all knowledge: (Theology was once considered the Queen of the Sciences, as Brian Madison will tell you. Is there anything that can replace it - like physics?)

Related: How do we avoid "imperialist disciplines"--disciplines that want to take over the way that everyone else looks at the world, because they have the only "right" way to analyse things. One could argue that econ, lit, and evolutionary biology are all or have all been such disciplines. I'm sure there are some--probably economists, lit critics, and evolutionary biologists--who would argue that this isn't a bad thing. (-jacob)

How has technology, the internet, the University, the marketplace.... affected the need for interdisciplinary thought?

What has been your personal exposure with interdisciplinary projects? Does Duke as a whole encourage it?

Since it's impossible to know everything, should we look at interdisciplinary thinking as means to see other people's views, or as a method of challenging ourselves to transcend established modes of thought within our own field of study?

Should we look at the opinions and ideas of English Majors (i.e. individuals formed by the study of a subject). Or is it more of what English can offer as a discipline to other subjects?

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