Mesa Verde, Interdisciplinarity: Endpoints… Process…

Update on a previous post by Steve Wolverton

The Mesa Verde team has now persisted through many months, and these blog posts represent initial products of our experiment to tell the stories of our experiences in the field through the lenses of our individuality and our professions and arts.  In the context of the day-to-day grind of the upstart of the fall semester, and after reading Melinda Levin’s and David Taylor’s recent posts, I realize that the cooperative enterprise of the team fills a need for me.  The day ends, and I look at the list of administrative, teaching, and research tasks I have done, encapsulated within my office and scampering around the UNT Environmental Science Building.  I have done a lot today, but I have a mildly hopeless feeling related to the question “is that it for today?”  I am not done, I am never “done for the day.”

Research is a creative enterprise, and speaking for myself, creative expression provides a handle on an unpredictable world.  What I am referring to are waxing and waning financial markets, pulses of political instability and social tragedy, increasingly visible media portrayal of natural disasters, local university budgetary facts of life, students with similarly pulsating states of emergency.  What is it about the cooperative enterprise of our team that resonates with a sense of satisfaction and tranquility?  Frankly, I get to be a part of something creative, that is immediate, that is shared, and that builds ties with others telling similar and different stories.  This cooperative, creative process feels productive without endpoints.  “Projected endpoints…;” these represent the usual state of things.  In contrast, our team must be built on trust because the endpoints will be poems that I cannot write, films that I cannot make, photographs that I cannot take, and knowledge that I only have a small portion of.

Process… Is this a key to interdisciplinarity?  Or is process a personal window to the world of research and nothing more?

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