Sunday, September 11, 2011

Interdisciplinary Conversations

Strober, Myra. Interdisciplinary Conversations: Challenging Habits of Mind. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011.

An excellent discussion of how scholars work and communicate in the different disciplines and the difficulty of communicating across disciplines because of learned habits of mind. Strober, after conducting a case study of a selection of funded interdisciplinary study groups at three different universities, makes recommendations on how such groups can be conducted so as to have productive outcomes. She specifically recommends that participants lay aside the learned habit of approaching new concepts from the perspective of doubting and work from a perspective of first believing and then questioning. She writes that "synthesizing ideas from disparate disciplines is unfamiliar and uncomfortable. But it is in that discomfort that the seeds of creativity lie, and if the group can continue to play the believing game--not insisting on certainty, closure, or judgments--participantsmay ultimately move to new truths and imaginative solutions" (165). It is about listening with an open mind, trying on ideas, doing away with certainty about any single approach, method, or idea as the only possible scholarly path.

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