Interdisciplinarity

Interdisciplinarity is the future of research, education, and outreach, but there is still broad misunderstanding about the meaning of the term and how best to operationalize interdisciplinary work. As a field of education and research, humanities policy seeksto build bridges between disciplines.

This section is designed to increase our understanding of the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity by providing:

Interdisciplinarity Resources :
Interdisciplary Centers:
Annotated Bibliography

Klein, Julie Thompson. Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory, and Practice. 1990. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. Pp. 331.
Designed to synthesize the best scholarship on interdisciplinarity since the 1970s, analyze the external and internal forces that have shaped the concept, and demonstrate the interplay of arguments that constitue the modern discourse on interdisciplinarity. The following questions are addressed: Part 1 - How is interdisciplinarity defined? How did the concept evolve in the 20th century? What kinds of activities are associated with it? Part 2 - What is the relationship between disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity? How has interdisciplinarity served as a critique of disciplinarity? What happens when interdisciplinary fields begin to assume disciplinary characteristics? Part 3 - What is the state-of-the-art in such major areas as problem-focused research, health care, and education? Conclusion - What qualities characterize an "interdisciplinary person"? What is the nature of the interdisciplinary process? Bibliography - What constitues a basic English-language literature on interdisciplinarity?

Klein, Julie Thompson, and William G. Doty, eds. Interdisciplinary Studies Today. 1994. Special issue of New Directions for Teaching and Learning (no. 58, summer 1994). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Pp. 96.
Presents five essays entitled: "Finding Interdisciplinary Knowledge and Information," "Designing Interdisciplinary Courses," "The Administration and Governance of Interdisciplinary Programs," "Assessing Interdisciplinary Learning," and "Organizational Networking: Taking the Next Step." Also contains an index.

Klein, Julie Thompson. Crossing Boundaries: Knowledge, Disciplinarities, and Interdisciplinarities. 1996. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. Pp. x, 281.
Develops the concept of boundary work by claiming that "the interactions and reorganizations that boundary crossing creates are as central to the production and organization of knowledge as boundary formation and maintenance (p. 2)." Defines interdisciplinarity and explores the way in which it is theorized. Examines the institutional contexts of interdisciplinarity. Develops and applies a conceptual framework. Concludes with three crucial issues: integrative process, criteria of judgment, and institutional strategies.