If you click on one link today, I recommend this one:



Dear Colleagues:

INIT, the International Network of Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity, is continuing to host a virtual seminar on We invite everyone to participate in a new forum on the demands of transdisciplinary work in the developing world (Dec.3, 2012 –  Dec. 31, 2012). Please feel free to re-post this announcement. 

Why engage?  In this forum we have an opportunity not only to deliberate about the nature and the unique demands of transdisciplinary knowledge production but also, very importantly, to contribute directly to a transdisciplinary initiative currently unfolding in Enkanini, an informal settlement in Stellenbosch, South Africa. All interested perspectives are welcome–scholars, students, teachers, artists, community organizers, architects–as they will enrich our collective understanding of this case. The questions we raise, puzzles we share, lessons we learn, and suggestions we make will be in direct dialog with our colleagues working in Enkanini. The opportunity to engage in transdisiclinary and international dialogue is great!

Seminar focus:  This seminar focuses on a real-life example of transdisciplinary work in the Enkanini informal settlement.  In this setting, scholars and students collaborate with local actors to identify improvement priorities, design novel shacks, and improve clean water availability and living conditions while advancing relevant knowledge.  The case invites us to reflect about the nature of knowledge production within and across disciplines and knowledge forms, as we encounter the urgent topics of cultural and environmental survival of today.

Agenda:  We prepared this case especially for INIT with three assumptions in mind:

(1)    Shared concrete examples can enable us to find a common ground to discuss overlaps and differences in our views of disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work.

(2)    Examples that bring to light the realities of the developing world will reveal the need for international approaches to ID and TD work— a call for pluralistic approaches to knowledge construction and healthy skepticism about the generalizability of currently available theories.

(3)   Most importantly, transdisciplinary enterprises of this kind can, and should, be open for feedback, collaboration and intellectual contributions. Thus, our INIT online seminar discussions will link directly to the transdisciplinary dialog unfolding at Enkanini.  Researchers and settlers involved in the project will be able to capitalize on the reflections we share to advance work on the ground and its theorizations.

Framing questions:  We trust that you find the case engaging, its images compelling, and the reflections around it provocative. To get us started please feel free to share:   What calls your attention about this case?  What questions of clarification or puzzles does it raise? In what ways does the case confirm, extend, or challenge your assumptions about the nature of new knowledge production in and across disciplines and knowledge forms?  What does the case reveal about conditions for successful transdisciplinary work (e.g. assumptions about rational deliberation, democratic institutions, and collective action)?

How to log in, read and participate:  You will find the case study at 

In order to join the discussion, go to the link at then click on the button:  “Start a New Discussion.” After that, write a comment or question then post it. Invited panelists will be able to see their comments immediately by refreshing the page. If you are not an invited panelist, your message will be moderated and will appear on the website shortly afterwards. However everyone is welcome to read the materials and join in the discussion. Please, do not hesitate to contact Gloria Origgi and the Interdisciplines team at if you have any questions or problems with the text.

More information about INIT can be found on the INIT site

With best wishes,

John van Breda and Veronica Boix Mansilla

This entry was posted in Accountability, Future of the University, Globalization, Sustainability, Risk Management, & Long-Term Security, Transdisciplinarity, Transformative Research and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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