Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies Volume 14 (1996)

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    The Culture of Babel: Interdisciplinarity as Adaptation in Multicultureland
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1996) Bailis, Stanley; Newell, William H.
    The 16th annual AIS conference at Duquesne University (1994) had as its theme "Beyond Babel." This paper, a version of which was presented at the conference, examines that theme in terms of a pair of opposed ideas: (I) That integrative interdisciplinary work must move the academy beyond the Babel it has become under the influence of disciplinary specialization. (2) That integrative interdisciplinary work must not interfere with the intensive disciplinary specialization the academy allows in the study of human diversity, which has been the human condition since and beyond Babel. Points developed in the discussion of these ideas lead to a qualified notion of interdisciplinarity as a means of coping with and using the differentiated bodies of knowledge that specialization necessarily produces.
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    Guest Editor's Introduction
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1996) Bailis, Stanley; Newell, William H.
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    Interdisciplinary Writing and the Undergraduate Experience: A Four-Year Writing Plan Proposal
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1996) Bailis, Stanley; Newell, William H.
    Relying upon social process compositional theory and theories of the intellectual development of college students, Haynes' article presents a proposal for how interdisciplinary writing might be fostered in a four-year undergraduate curriculum. She argues that in order for students to gain proficiency in interdisciplinary written scholarship, they must undergo a carefully sequenced set of writing experiences which progress steadily from engagement with expressive modes to a more critical awareness of disciplinary forms to the development of integrative inquiry. Her article offers a theoretical justification for her plan as well as a series of sample writing assignments.
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    An Exploration of the Interdisciplinary Character of Women's Studies
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1996) Bailis, Stanley; Newell, William H.
    This article uses the AIS "Guide to Interdisciplinary Syllabus Preparation" to explore the claim that women's studies programs and courses are interdisciplinary. Grace presents a historical overview of the development of women's studies as an academic interdisciplinary venue and then analyzes women's studies courses from U.S. colleges and universities, using exemplary syllabi published in the National Women's Studies Association 1991 Report to the Profession. The analysis concludes that women's studies programs are characterized by seven types of courses, many of which are distinctly not interdisciplinary even though they claim to be.
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    The Generalist and the Disciplines: The Case of Lewis Mumford
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1996) Bailis, Stanley; Newell, William H.
    This essay explores the methodology and discursive style of pioneering interdisciplinarian Lewis Mumford. Widely acknowledged as one of the most influential scholars of the century, Mumford deployed a richly textured "mixed" discourse, incorporating special guiding metaphors of "the city" and "the organism" to enhance his interpretive range and power. He sought to demonstrate how the disciplines could be brought into cooperation through the mediation of the generalist, and to explore the rigor necessary to this process. In doing so, he achieved an effective interdisciplinary--as opposed to transdisciplinary--approach, embodied in an impressive number of major and minor works. Mumford provides us with a model of successful interdisciplinary effort, and with a sense of the new intellectual community this effort makes possible.