Friday, April 11, 2008

Out of our academic silos...

Session 9: What Can Historians, Sociologists, and Anthropologists Learn from One Another?
Cathy Stanton, Tufts University, Massachusetts-Organizer and fill in moderator for Shan Holt of MARCH-Mid-Atlantic Center for the Humanities

Panel Presenters:
Kelly M. Britt, Columbia University, New York
Cynthia Negry, University of Louisville, Kentucky
Jay M. Price, Wichita State University, Kansas

Well a short answer to the question the session was based on: What can we all learn from one another: A LOT. Whether it is the history of each disciplines move towards a ‘public’ engagement, or the origins and politics of the public divide—the divide between public, academic and private in any discipline or the impact any work has on the civics, economics, etc. of the community(ies) in which we work, I think we can gain much insight from one another’s disciplines histories and experiences. I think the word to walk away with from this session is ‘transdisciplinary’, which to me – goes even beyond interdisciplinary. For me, interdisciplinary work is what is needed but one must be trans-disciplinary-basically wear hats of many disciplines and no longer approach any project from one angle. This of course involves, open-mindedness, discipline of reaching out to different professions and avenues of research, and primarily communication. Without communication to each other and with each other, we will continue to work in what Cathy called our “academic silos”, even if we have an interdisciplinary project. Now the question is will the shift from merely interdisciplinary research and work to a more trans-disciplinary one actually take place? I see it happening, but only the future can really tell where this will go.

Kelly Britt

1 comment:

Cathy Stanton said...

To give credit where credit is due... My co-organizers for the panel were Dick Miller and Kathy Corbett, neither of whom were able to join us in person. Dick came up with the notion of getting out of our academic "silos," and also with the idea for this session in the first place.