I’ve been writing lately about interdisciplinary thinking and scholarship, and the first article, “Becoming Interdisciplinary: A publisher’s perspective,” is published today in the August issue of YBP’s online magazine, Academia.
I point out that “interdisciplinary efforts should span broad divides such as the one between science and the arts, but although people pay lip service to the notion of interdisciplinarity and collaborative work, university departments are judged by the number of students they attract and the grants they get–which means they’re in competition with one another. It’s hard to cooperate with one’s rivals; encouraging one’s best and brightest to engage in interdisciplinary research and teach classes in other departments is not, from a pragmatic perspective, in the interests of the organization.”
My own interdisciplinary thinking goes back to UC Santa Barbara, where I studied literature with a well-known and iconaclastic critic, Marvin Mudrick. I’ve written a feature, a kind of memoir, called “Mudrick’s Chickens” for the UCSB Coastlines magazine and will post from it when it’s published.