Border Patrol

Picture 1Seen this article? Students in our Department read anthropologists, historians, sociologists, psychologists, literary critics, philosophers, along with scholars of religion, to name just a few of the other fields that we regularly draw on in carrying out our work. So what do you think the implications of this cross-disciplinary work are for our field — is it interdisciplinary at its core? Are we valued by those in other fields?

Or maybe the better question is: What fields are not interdisciplinary — to whatever degree — today? For while departments and academic disciplines are, of course, still administrative units of varying consequence, for whom are they still so rigid that a colleague would be puzzled by your citation of someone from another field?

Come to think of it, at a time when many of us read so widely, how do you even define cross-disciplinary as a distinct thing? After all, the same small handful of scholars in the late-19th century seem to be the common founding figures to which a host of different fields today all trace themselves, suggesting that we’re all interdisciplinary to begin with, no?

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