The End of Disciplinarity

Fri, 2012-03-30 10:00 - 11:00
Cyber-ShARE Center of Excellence, Classroom Bldg., Viz Lab Room C402

Presenter: Dr. Robert Frodeman
Description: We live in a new epistemological moment – the end of the era of disciplinarity.
The end of disciplinarity does not mean the end of disciplines, which will continue to be central to the academic enterprise for a variety of practical and institutional reasons. But it does mean that disciplinarity will no longer function as the end of education.
This talk consists of two parts. In the first I will a) offer an account of what characterized the disciplinary era of knowledge, and b) provide a set of reasons for thinking that this era is coming to an end.
Second, I will offer an account of what are the likely to be the imperatives of a new, inter- and transdisciplinary age of knowledge production. I will do so through the development of 4 theses:

  • Interdisciplinarity as complementary to rather than antagonistic with disciplinarity
  • Interdisciplinarity as a placeholder, not a method
  • The need to develop a post-disciplinary humanities
  • In the 21st century academy, intellectual autonomy needs to be seen as co-equal with public accountability

Dr. Robert Frodeman is Director of the Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity (CSID) and Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies at the University of North Texas. He specializes in environmental philosophy, science policy, and questions concerning interdisciplinarity. Holder of advanced degrees in philosophy (a PhD, from Penn State) and geology (a masters from the University of Colorado), he has held positions at the University of Texas, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Colorado. He served as a consultant for the US Geological Survey for eight years, was the 2001-2002 Hennebach Professor of the Humanities at the Colorado School of Mines, and was an ESRC Fellow at Lancaster University in England in the spring of 2005. Dr. Frodeman is Editor in Chief of the Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity.
Through the CSID, Dr. Frodeman is currently conducting research on:

  • Theories of interdisciplinarity
  • Accountability and broader societal impacts
  • Philosophical dimensions of climate change
  • Peer review