CSID conducts research into the theory and practice of inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to knowledge. Interdisciplinary centers focused on a particular theme or problem are common; CSID is the first center devoted to developing a philosophy of interdisciplinarity.
CSID is concerned with two overall themes: the development of the philosophy of interdisciplinarity, and the dedisciplining and interdisciplining of philosophy. In the first task, a much-bandied term is explored in terms of the changing nature of knowledge production today. Disciplines grew into our main means for managing knowledge in parallel with the development of the modern research university. Both assumed the compartmentalizing of knowledge, a system breaking down today.
In the second, the disciplining of philosophy and the humanities is treated as an ontological mistake. Perhaps the sciences can be disciplined, although ecological approaches to knowledge strongly suggest the limits of that. But the humanities are inherently anti-disciplinary in nature. They depend on questioning, redrawing, and erasing boundaries. A disciplined philosophy, where philosophers work primarily with other philosophers, is no philosophy at all.
CSID research into interdisciplinarity is conducted via case studies, an approach we call 'field philosophy'.
Our work at the University of North Texas forms one set of case studies, which include:
The CSID Fellows Program
Graduate Fellows Program
Beyond campus, our work includes
- The Philosophy of Peer Review (e.g. CAPR and our work on NSF's Broader Impact Criterion)
- INIT--the International Network of Inter- and Transdisciplinarity
- PIN--Philosophy of/as Interdisciplinarity Network
And a number of publications, such as the Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity.
Interdisciplinarity is entering a new era. The founding work in the field was definitional and taxonomic in nature (e.g., Klein 1996, 1999, 2000, and 2005). There was also important work done in terms of the codification of approaches to undergraduate interdisciplinary programs (e.g., Repko 2008) and research methodology (e.g., Hirsch Hadorn, 2008). Work in these areas continues. The most pressing challenge before us, however, is to understand 'interdisciplinarity' as giving voice to a set of questions concerning the overall viability of our knowledge society in an age of massive cultural transformation.
Interdisciplinarity has become its own field of study. The Association for Integrative Studies (in the US) and TDnet (in Europe), and research centers such the University of Bielefeld’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research and the University of North Texas’ Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity (CSID), are making strides to develop a practice-based theory of interdisciplinarity.
While the first three of these institutions are long-standing, CSID is part of a new wave of research into interdisciplinarity that include the creation of PIN (Philosophy of/as Interdisciplinarity Network) and INIT (the International Network for Inter- and Transdisciplinarity). Moreover, the US National Science Foundation has a number of funding initiatives that highlight interdisciplinary research and education.
At CSID, our research into interdisciplinarity includes:
- Understanding whether or to what degree one can identify an interdisciplinary methodology
- Conducting research into the nature and limitations of expertise
- Devising assessment metrics for interdisciplinarity
- Understanding the relationship between disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge
- Identifying best practices in interdisciplinarity
- Thematizing the relation between the production and use of knowledge
- Understanding the effects of new media on the authority of academic knowledge
CSID researchers offer assistance in:
- advice and evaluation on the creation, development, and evaluation of interdisciplinary programs
- conducting workshops on the integration of broader impacts into STEM research and education
- Addressing the requirements concerning research ethics training as part of the America Competes Act (ACA)
CSID is interested in spec work--work that addresses a particular need within specific time limitations. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.