Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies Volume 17 (1999)

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    Intermediation: Arts' Contribution to General Integrative Theory
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1999) Bailis, Stanley; Wentworth, Jay
    Intermediation approaches integration via medium, as does interdisciplinarity via field/content, while both involve concerns of method/ology. "Media" are distinguished by the perceptual acts required for their constitution (cf McLuhan, 1964) - by the relationship to the body which they institute. Intermediation integrates, without eliminating, multiple perceptual acts and bodily relationships. Thus hypertext tends not to be an inter-medium, because its output is usually in one medium (video or print), while classrooms are almost always inter-media of print, spatio/temporal design, performance, and imagery (Carp, 1991). Artists, designers, and anthropologists of material culture have most thoroughly and consistently investigated intermediation. Artists and designers adopt intermediation as a communicative strategy; anthropologists posit intermediation as a site for cultural resistance, post-colonial creativity and non-Eurocentric wisdoms.
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    The Lure of Novelty and the Disappearance of the Public Intellectual: Thoughts on the Culture Wars
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1999) Bailis, Stanley; Wentworth, Jay
    Scholarly discourse has become a chaos of contending viewpoints, due in large part to the growing influence of multiculturalism, deconstruction, and postmodernism. These movements impede efforts to connect the disciplines and to bridge the chasm between the academy and the general public. Going beyond a fashionable postmodern skepticism, and building up a resistance to intellectual faddism in general, will require resisting the marketdriven lure of novelty, re-emphasizing rigorous integrative concepts and methods, and fostering the embryonic communitarianism of the intellect that exists beneath the agitated surface of contemporary academic life.
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    A Role for Formalisms in Integrative Studies
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1999) Bailis, Stanley; Wentworth, Jay
    The increasing importance of integrative studies in higher education makes it more vital to rethink integrative studies from the perspective of reaching maximum benefit. In rethinking integrative studies, it is appropriate to subsume a number of active concepts under more embracing rubrics. Also it is noteworthy that subsumption does not destroy or eliminate the active concept, does sustain the capacity to use the active concept appropriately, and does provide elbow room both for perceiving that concept within the larger rubric, and for reconceptualization of the active concept within the more embracing rubric.It is certainly appropriate as well to rethink the possibility that, in developing integrative studies in higher education, we can and should draw more heavily upon guidance from selected scholarly predecessors than we appear now to be doing, whether they were academics or not. Then, this guidance can also be integrated with any relevant knowledge under exploration at present. Finally, appropriately, we should consider the possibility of applying classical formalisms from formal logic, using computer assistance (which makes those formalisms readily available, and does not require understanding of their symbolic systems or operations as a precondition of their application) as a way of enhancing the breadth and quality of integrative studies: especially of those that involve complexity.
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    Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity: A Constant Challenge to the Sciences
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1999) Bailis, Stanley; Wentworth, Jay
    The following text will present an outlook on some new forms of supradisciplinary collaboration where traditional disciplinary bounderies are crossed. It will be shown (a) that the decision as to which form of supradisciplinary collaboration has to be chosen depends strongly on the quality of the given scientific problem; (b) that there does not exist any scientific hierarchy prefering transdisciplinary approaches versus interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary ones and vice versa. The suggestions are empirically based on various observations and experiences with research programs in the fields of Ecology realized in Switzerland and Germany. As the discussion in Europe on supradisciplinary collaboration during the last three decades has specially progressed in the German speaking part of Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), the text mainly discusses important contributions in German literature. After a general introduction we first talk about the expectations (part 2) and the methodological preconceptions (part 3) which are related to these forms of research. In part 4 we clarify the term Interdisciplinarity, and in part 5 we offer a casuistry “an argument using general principles of ethics to determine right and wrong in questions of conduct“ as a way of discussing how an interdisciplinary approach can be realized. In part 6 and 7 the discussion is then focused on the nature of transdisciplinary approaches, followed by a conclusion. American readers have to be aware that in Europe the term "science" is used in a less restrictive way and beside natural sciences includes also technical and social sciences as well as humanities.
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    Venturing Into Interdisciplinary Tasks: Common Challenges for Faculty and Students
    (Association for Interdisciplinary Studies, 1999) Bailis, Stanley; Wentworth, Jay
    This article offers a series of vignettes of a group of faculty working together to write a collection of essays on interdisciplinary teaching and learning, as these shed light on possibilities for transformative experiences for undergraduates in interdisciplinary courses. Sample issues explored: beginning with a plan or letting the plan emerge, finding a focus amidst a plethora of materials and methods, relating concrete and abstract. What can we learn from our own processes of interdisciplinary work to improve our processes of teaching?