XII. Theorizing Interdisciplinarity

This bibliography closes with a brief selection of works that "theorize interdisciplinarity." While the rest of this bibliography has consisted of theories useful in doing interdisciplinary analysis, the pieces in this section are ones that reflect on what interdisciplinarity is, and on general problems and possibilities of doing interdisciplinary scholarship. These problems and possibilities include institutional issues regarding the academy's disciplinary structures, as well as abstract and practical dimensions of combining, synthesizing, multiplying or otherwise bringing more than a single disciplinary knowledge base to bear on a topic.

Doty, William G., and Julie Thompson Klein, eds. Interdisciplinary Studies Today: New Directions for Teaching and Learning. New Jersey: Jossey-Bass, 1994.
Useful collection on a range of questions to do with learning to be interdisciplinary, and teaching approaches to interdisciplinarity.
Fish, Stanley. "Being Interdisciplinary Is So Very Hard to Do." Fish.There's No Such Thing as Free Speech, and it's a Good Thing, Too. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1994; 231-42. Originally printed in the Modern Language Association Journal Profession 89: 15-22.
With his usual incisiveness, Fish makes a good case against interdisciplinary work. One of the best-known critiques, and one well worth attending to, even though he is ultimately mostly mistaken in his judgments.
Gulbenkian Commission. Open The Social Sciences: Report of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995.
Short book that lays out nicely the history of the social sciences, the problems resulting from intellectual apartheid among social science disciplines, and outlines some interdisciplinary possibilities to overcome some of these problems.
Kitch, Sally, and Judith Allen."Disciplined by Disciplines?: The Need for an Interdisciplinary Research Mission for Women's Studies." Feminist Studies 24:2 (1998).
Thoughtfully explores the political implications of interdisciplinarity vis-à-vis one key interdiscipline.
Klein, Julie Thompson. Crossing Boundaries: Knowledge, Disciplinarities, and Interdisciplinarities. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1996.
---. Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory, and Practice. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1990.
Julie Thompson Klein is among the foremost theorists of interdisciplinarity, and these two wide-ranging books include comparisons between and among humanistic and social science interdisciplines (including AS), as well as comparisons to those in the sciences. She "investigates the claims, activities, and institutional structures that define and legitimate interdisciplinary practices." The books also include excellent bibliographies broken down by various interdisciplines, issues, and problems. A fine place to get an overview of the questions involved in interdisciplinarity.
Kline, Stephen Jay. Conceptual Foundations for Multidisciplinary Thinking. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995.
Sophisticated study of how the great benefits of disciplines in the sciences and humanities have also created problems in developing relational thought, complex systems and ways of adjudicating differences in findings across disciplines.
Levin, Lennart, and Ingemar Lind, eds. Inter-disciplinarity Revisited: Re-assessing the Concept in the Light of Institutional Experience. Stockholm: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Swedish National Board of Universities and Colleges, Linkoeping University, 1985.
Good balance of institutional and conceptual issues are addressed
Lattuca, Lisa. Creating Interdisciplinarity. Vanderbilt Universitiy Press, 2001.
An excellent book that is both conceptually innovative, and based upon empirical studies of how people actually do interdisciplinary work. Includes a highly useful taxonomy for distinguishing among the various kinds or degrees of interdisciplinarity.
Messer-Davidow, Ellen, David R. Shumway, and David J. Sylvan, eds. Knowledges: Historical and Critical Studies in Disciplinarity. Charlottesville, VI: University Press of Virginia, 1993.
Brings a critical cultural studies approach to bear on the topic of interdisciplinarity.
Parker, Joe et al. eds, Interdisciplinarity and Social Justice: Revisioning Academic Accountability. SUNY Press, 2010.
Rich collection of essays reflecting on the history, present and future of interdisciplinary fields focused on social justice, including cultural, gender, multi-ethnic, African American, Chicano/a, gay and lesbian, whiteness, Arab, and critical race studies, viewed as both discrete and intersectional formations.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. The End of the World As We Know It. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
As the clever title hints, Wallerstein divides his work between an appraisal of significant recent historical events, and a study of the shifts in thought those events call us to consider. This changing world should, he argues, occasion us to change the way we seek to know it. But disciplinary rigidities and other habits of thought continue to impede this process. The second half of the book in particular takes up current issues in the world of knowledge -- "the vanishing faith in rationality, the scattering of knowledge activities, the denunciation of Eurocentrism, the questioning of the division of knowledge into science and humanities, and the relation of the search for the true and the search for the good."