Breaking Out of Standing Around

Last evening, a trio of CSIDers–Alex Mosiak, myself, and Kelli Barr–co-presented a panel at the 41st North Texas Philosophical Association.

Finding a Transdisciplinary Path:
Philosophizing in the Age of Ethereal Control

Our attempt was to shake out and size up what we have all learned from our short tenure at the Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity. I started as Program Manager about a year ago. They each came in as Research Assistants back in August. So collectively we are still the newbies. Taking on the target of our Center, as originally conceived by its Director Robert Frodeman and brought forward by the Asst. Director Britt Hoblrook, we wanted to actually engage in how Interdisciplinarity is done and how transdisciplinarity is possible.

When I was in talks about taking on a position here at CSID, I heard from many of my colleagues around UNT that interdisciplinarity is something that folks in the humanities and social sciences have been doing for decades. We already have a few ID programs here. Why do we need a center for ID?

Well, because it is NOT another ID center but a group of thinkers philosophizing how inter-, and hopefully trans-, disciplinarity works when it does work and does not work when it doesn’t.

Another misunderstanding was often the claim that CSID was trying to turn ID/TD into just another discipline. I discovered very quickly in researching the center and the work of its directors that this was as far from the truth as could be. In fact, the guiding notion for creating a place to study the phenomenon of ID was to protect against institution-think reactively creating yet one more discipline among the plethora that have sprung up over the last two centuries.

So at issue for Kelli, Alex & myself in doing this presentation was putting into practice the philosophizing of ID. Our target: to get a better grip on how we can break down the diverse bad habits that keep people in Academia accepting the status quo of proliferating specialities separated by the apparent light years of distance between different researchers’ offices.

For me, this was an opportunity to mentor my younger companions who are entering the University research system at a time when its established researchers find themselves put upon to not only account for what they are doing but somehow achieve revenue neutrality in doing it.

I hope for Kelli & Alex it was an opportunity to teach an old “dog” new insights.


This entry was posted in Accountability, Future of the University, Interdisciplinarity, Public Philosophizing. Bookmark the permalink.

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