As I mentioned in my last post I have found a new focus for the philosophical part of my internship: the state of interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity both in Paris and in Bianca’s lab.
Now, yes this is an impossible task. For one, I have a mere 42 days left at my internship. And also, in order to analyze the current state of affairs of ID it is necessary to understand the history (or the narrative) of interdisciplinarity/transdisciplinarity. That is ambitious, and the more that I study this field, the more I find out how little I know on the subject. Nevertheless, I understand that one of the points of an ID/TD approach is that you adapt yourself to the time that you have, and do your best. So I will try to research this topic to see how far I can take the idea before restructuring my focus…. again.
Anyways, I am thinking of structuring my research as follows:
First: I need a problem, and there seems to be no problem as glaring as the mess that is academia in the 21st century. So I will begin my report by quickly identifying the major problem that needs to be solved. I will outline a few of the flaws in higher education, research and intellectual activity today, that result from the many changes in our society. I may also highlight the role of our growing population and of our society’s endless desire for new technologies. These two points alone are fascinating and I could talk about them for pages. However, my work here is as an embedded humanist, and I want to show how my internship is relevant to this meta-point about the state of academia today.
Second: After outlining this meta-point, my research will follow a stepwise function. We have a problem, stated above, the solution to which may be found in interdisciplinarity/transdisciplinarity. So I will (again quickly because this could be expanded on for 100s of pages) point out how ID/TD can help academia. Then I will explain how field philosophy and embedded humanism are at the core of ID/TD.
Now the fun part is how neatly my project wraps up.
INSTITUTIONS: I will look at the state of ID/TD in Paris by visiting and interviewing people at the CRI (Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire). CRI is a new institution (started in 2005), and I want to learn of their past efforts to expand ID in Paris and their future goals for ID in Paris. I will name the different types of institutions present in Paris (i.e Sorbonne and other research universities) and look at how CRI interacts with each of these institutions of higher education. I also know some professors at the Sorbonne who I can interview if I want a different perspective on how ID impacts education and research in the 21st century.
LBPA: Now, I will make my research a step narrower by interviewing the director at LBPA, the lab where I am working. I will learn about the initiatives that LBPA has taken to move towards creating an ID environment in the lab, and how much of this turn to ID is a reflection of the pressures that CNRS places on the lab though the distribution of governmental funding. I will look at how the different teams in the laboratory work together and identify each type of team (i.e chemistry, biology or mixed).
BIANCA’S TEAM: Even smaller still, I will investigate Bianca’s team. I will look at how the different scientists interact and which disciplines are represented in her team. I will point out the lack of communication between the sciences and the humanities and offer an account of my work.
Hopefully you now see what I mean by a step-wise function. I started with a major problem facing our society and then showed how ID/TD can apply to institutions, laboratories, and teams. I want show the implication of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary studies on each level of research and education. At the end of my essay/report I will show how my work as an embedded humanist is necessary for the future of academia. Then I will propose I way for LBPA/Bianca’s team to begin to integrate humanists into their work, and show the benefits of this.
I hope to end my essay/report by tying this integration of humanists back to the meta-point of the mess of academia in the 21st century. It seems like a good plan to me. Ambitious yes, but do able if I will limit myself to only providing a rough sketch of the state of academia and ID/TD’s relation to it.
But enough for this post! I meant for it to be a lot smaller, but then I got excited while explaining the structure….
p.s. If you are wondering what happened to my days in the lab, don’t worry! I now have Mondays and Tuesday for research, reading and writing, but Wednesday – Friday I will be in the lab. Yay for science. –(but double yay for philosophy…..)