Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies Volume 23 (2005)

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    Disciplinary Hegemony Meets Interdisciplinary Ascendancy: Can Interdisciplinary/Integrative Studies Survive, and, If So, How?
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2005) Navakas, Francine; Fiscella, Joan
    This paper explores the increasing challenges and possible solutions to the sustainability of undergraduate interdisciplinary studies programs at public universities in North America. It analyzes the causes of the current trend that is threatening to undercut experimental and innovative programs in undergraduate interdisciplinary teaching and learning. It asks and seeks to answer why this threat is happening now, at a time of increased recognition of the value and significance of interdisciplinarity, a time when interdisciplinarity is in its ascendancy. It documents some key indicators of this ascendancy and explains why this growth poses a threat to the ideology of disciplinary hegemony. It points out that this threat is particularly acute: during times of declining state budgets for public higher education; when there is a rise of big science and the diminution of liberal arts; and when the politics of grant funding celebrates interdisciplinarity as a strategy for grant success. The paper concludes by identifying strategies to combat these challenges to interdisciplinary undergraduate education. In particular, it describes the tactics of resistance deployed against the politics and practice that threaten merger, downsizing or actual closure of IDS programs. Finally, the paper suggests the development of a dialogue on policy to both inform and to provide a resource base for those programs facing similar challenges in the future.
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    An International Learning Community: Cultural Studies and Study Abroad in an Integrated Studies Program
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2005) Navakas, Francine; Fiscella, Joan
    This paper describes the inclusion of a cultural studies/language component and a study abroad experience into the University of North Dakota's successful and long-established Integrated Studies Program. These international study opportunities join a curriculum which fully integrates courses in science, humanities, social science and communications.
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    Making Interdisciplinarity Work Through Translation and Analogical Thinking
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2005) Navakas, Francine; Fiscella, Joan
    Analogies are often employed in a variety of contexts as a means of translating across disciplines or perspectives. Such translation fails when it is thought of merely as transversal exchange, focusing on similarity within the analogy. Until now, in my teaching, I have been directing students to do just this. Recently, I have been considering the philosophical problems of analogical thinking, and I am prepared to revise my approach. Rather than assume the value of similarity, and therefore conclude the integrative process (and claim success) on that basis, analogical thinkers as interdisciplinary translators would do better to engage the difference that inheres within each discipline or perspective as the source of understanding "how newness enters the world."
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    Building a Culture of Learning in the 21st Century: Confronting Some Assumptions Preventing Us from Realizing the Promise of the Learning Paradigm
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2005) Navakas, Francine; Fiscella, Joan
    In the past 20 years some educators have given greater attention to a broadened conception of learning that highlights processes and a diversity of learning modalities. But higher education has yet to broadly embrace the potential for developing a real culture of learning. As interactive technologies and experimental research provoke us to re-examine our teaching practices, this essay challenges educators to confront their own assumptions about expertise and the ways we apply and align those principles of expert learning to the design of undergraduate education.
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    Textual Revision, Stalinist Revisionism, and the Obligations of Memory: Situating Anna Akhmatova's Poem Without a Hero
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 2005) Navakas, Francine; Fiscella, Joan
    Textual revision is the process a poet uses to bring a work's aesthetic aspirations closer to realization. Historical revision is the process by which historians bring narratives of the past into closer alignment with a perceived "truth." This article brings these disparate disciplinary concepts of revision to bear on a reading of Anna Akhmatova's Poem Without A Hero in order to explain more fully her 20 years of changes, additions and deletions. It finds the poem is not only an aesthetic object with which the poet struggled to find an architectural structure and strophic form, but it is also the narration of a liminal and emblematic moment during the siege of Leningrad about which, with the epistemological habits of mind of a historian, the poet struggles to narrate a historical "truth."