Key readings about interdisciplinarity / Lecturas clave sobre interdisciplina

bianca-vienni
Bianca Vienni (biography)

Community member post by Bianca Vienni

An English version of this post is available

Si ud tuviera que elegir un conjunto de textos clave sobre la interdisciplina para traducir a otro idioma y utilizarlos en un grupo de discusión, ¿cuáles serían? Esa fue la tarea que nos propusimos en el Espacio Interdisciplinario de la Universidad de la República (UdelaR) en Uruguay.

Elegimos once textos que capturan la diversidad de enfoques sobre la interdisciplina y que también constituyen un punto de referencia para la producción académica.

Estos son los que elegimos:

  1. National Academy of Sciences (2005) Chapter 2: The drivers of interdisciplinary research, en Facilitating interdisciplinary research, National Academy of Sciences, The National Academies Press, pp. 26-39.
  2. Moti Nissani (1997) Ten cheers for interdisciplinarity: The case for interdisciplinary knowledge and research, The Social Science Journal, 34, 2, pp. 201-216.
  3. Julie Thompson Klein (1996) Chapter 3: An interdisciplinary lexicon, en Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory and Practice, Wayne State University Press, pp. 55-73.
  4. Julie Thompson Klein (1996) Chapter 4: The Rhetoric of Interdisciplinarity, en Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory and Practice, Wayne State University Press, pp. 77- 84.
  5. Julie Thompson Klein (2011) Chapter 2: A taxonomy of interdisciplinarity, en Robert Frodeman, Julie Thompson Klein & Carl Mitcham (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity, Oxford University Press, pp. 15-30.
  6. Peter Weingart (1999) Chapter 2: Interdisciplinarity: The paradoxical discourse, en Peter Weingart & Nico Stehr (eds.), Practising interdisciplinarity, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, pp. 25-36.
  7. Catherine Lyall, Ann Bruce, Joyce Tait y Laura Meagher (2011) Chapter 3: Planning the expedition. Designing interdisciplinary research projects, en Catherine Lyall et al. (eds.) Interdisciplinary Research Journeys, Bloomsbury, pp. 25-50.
  8. Gertrude Hirsch Hadron, Christian Pohl & Gabriele Bammer (2010) Chapter 30: Solving problems through transdisciplinary research, en Robert Froderman, Julie Thompson Klein & Carl Mitcham (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 431-452.
  9. Joske Bunders, Jacqueline Broerse, Florian Keil, Christian Pohl, Roland Scholz & Marjolein Zweekhorst (2010) How can transdisciplinary research contribute to knowledge democracy?, en Roeland J. in ‘t Veld (ed.), Knowledge Democracy, Springer, pp. 125-152.
  10. Liz O’Brien, Mariella Marzano & Rehema White (2013) Participatory interdisciplinarity: towards the integration of disciplinary diversity with stakeholder engagement for new models of knowledge production, Science and Public Policy, 40, 1, 2013, pp. 51-61.
  11. Catherine Lyall, Ann Bruce, Wendy Marsden & Laura Meagher (2013) The role of funding agencies in creating interdisciplinary knowledge, Science and Public Policy,  40, 1, pp. 62 – 71.

Las dos primeras referencias abordan la cuestión de lo que implica la interdisciplina y lo que ella significa. Quisimos ofrecer al demos universitario materiales que abrieran la discussion y la reflexión en torno a esta cuestión.

Las obras de Julie Thompson Klein (3 a 5) muestran la evolución del pensamiento sobre la interdisciplina, las que junto con la contribución de Peter Weingart, exponen la complejidad de la construcción de un léxico interdisciplinario. Estos textos integran la segunda sección del libro que aborda la pregunta “¿Es posible definir la interdisciplinariedad?”

El siguiente grupo de capítulos (7 y 8) presenta diversas formas de la investigación interdisciplinaria y transdisciplinaria. Esta última, no tan conocida en nuestra Universidad, se presenta con otras etiquetas y por tanto, valía la pena reflexionar en torno a ella.

El trabajo con actores sociales es el cuarto tema (9 y 10) y la lista concluye con un capítulo (11) que aborda la cuestión de cómo fomentar y promover la interdisciplina.

Estas lecturas fueron la base para un seminario quincenal, realizado en el año 2013, entre investigadores, profesores, egresados y estudiantes que se reunieron para pensar y repensar la investigación y el conocimiento interdisciplinarios. Los criterios que utilizamos para la selección de los textos fueron la calidad, originalidad y relevancia para nuestro contexto. También se consideró su valor educativo para un público más amplio, ya que estos capítulos – traducidos al español – forman la base de un libro.

Para completar dicha publicación, invitamos a destacados investigadores de la Universidad de la República a contribuir, y lo hicieron de la siguiente forma:

  1. “Hacia la interdisciplina en el siglo XXI”, Susana Mallo (Facultad de Ciencias Sociales).
  2. “Sobre la interdisciplina”, Carlos Santos (Servicio Central de Extensión y actividades en el medio).
  3. “Algunas notas generales a propósito de cómo definir la interdisciplina”, Gerardo Caetano (Facultad de Ciencias Sociales).
  4. “¿Se puede definir la interdisciplina?” Rafael Radi (Facultad de Medicina).
  5. “Investigación interdisciplinaria: algunas ideas generales y el caso del manejo costero integrado”, Daniel Conde (Facultad de Ciencias).
  6. “Resolviendo problemas complejos de la vida real”, Marita Uruqhart (Facultad de Información y Comunicación).
  7. “Los aspectos político-institucionales en el desarrollo del conocimiento interdisciplinario”, Carmen Midaglia (Facultad de Ciencias Sociales).
  8. “Desalambrar el conocimiento. Algunas reflexiones a raíz de la lectura del artículo «Cómo la investigación transdisciplinaria contribuye a la knowledge democracy de Bunders y otros”, Gregory Randall (Facultad de Ingeniería).
  9. “Interdisciplina y aprendizaje institucional”, Gustavo Pereira (Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación).
  10. “Concluyendo y proyectando”, Álvaro Mombrú (Facultad de Química) y Bianca Vienni (Espacio Interdisciplinario).

Estos capítulos presentan puntos de vista diferentes pero complementarios sobre la interdisciplinariedad y la transdisciplinariedad. Cada uno refiere a las preguntas planteadas para el seminario y detallan ejemplos de Uruguay.

El valor de este libro radica en varios aspectos complementarios. En primer lugar, es el producto de un esfuerzo colectivo de un grupo de profesores interesados en el tema de la interdisciplina y comprometidos con la superación de las barreras para su promoción y fortalecimiento. En segundo lugar, este libro es el resultado de una serie de reuniones en las que se utilizaron textos como base para la reflexión. Por último, busca abrir nuevos puentes de comunicación entre investigadores de América Latina y de Europa, los Estados Unidos y otras regiones.

Front cover of Encuentros sobre InterdisciplinaEl libro Encuentros Sobre Interdisciplina está disponible en formato impreso. Si desea una copia puede enviar un correo a: biancav@ei.udelar.edu.uy.

¡Esperamos que esta publicación abra nuevos puentes entre investigadores de diferentes latitudes!

¿Qué textos en ingles hubiera elegido ud?


Key readings about interdisciplinarity / Lecturas clave sobre interdisciplina

A Spanish version of this post is available

If you had to choose a handful of key references about interdisciplinarity to translate into another language for a discussion group, what would they be? That was the task that confronted me and my colleagues at the Espacio Interdisciplinario at the Universidad de la República (UdelaR) in Uruguay.

We chose eleven English references, which captured the diversity of approaches but also benchmarked the progression of thinking about interdisciplinarity.

Here’s what we chose:

  1. National Academy of Sciences (2005) Chapter 2: The drivers of interdisciplinary research, in Facilitating interdisciplinary research, National Academy of Sciences, The National Academies Press, pages 26-39.
  2. Moti Nissani (1997) Ten cheers for interdisciplinarity: The case for interdisciplinary knowledge and research, The Social Science Journal, 34, 2, pages 201-216.
  3. Julie Thompson Klein (1996) Chapter 3: An interdisciplinary lexicon, in Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory and Practice, Wayne State University Press, pages 55-73.
  4. Julie Thompson Klein (1996) Chapter 4: The Rhetoric of Interdisciplinarity, in Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory and Practice, Wayne State University Press, pages 77- 84.
  5. Julie Thompson Klein (2011) Chapter 2: A taxonomy of interdisciplinarity, in Robert Frodeman, Julie Thompson Klein & Carl Mitcham (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity, Oxford University Press, pages 15-30.
  6. Peter Weingart (1999) Chapter 2: Interdisciplinarity: The paradoxical discourse, in Peter Weingart & Nico Stehr (eds.), Practising interdisciplinarity, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, pages 25-36.
  7. Catherine Lyall, Ann Bruce, Joyce Tait y Laura Meagher (2011) Chapter 3: Planning the expedition. Designing interdisciplinary research projects, in Interdisciplinary Research Journeys, Bloomsbury, pages 25-50.
  8. Gertrude Hirsch Hadron, Christian Pohl & Gabriele Bammer (2010) Chapter 30: Solving problems through transdisciplinary research, in Robert Froderman, Julie Thompson Klein & Carl Mitcham (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pages 431-452.
  9. Joske Bunders, Jacqueline Broerse, Florian Keil, Christian Pohl, Roland Scholz & Marjolein Zweekhorst (2010) How can transdisciplinary research contribute to knowledge democracy?, in Roeland J. in ‘t Veld (ed.), Knowledge Democracy, Springer, pages 125-152.
  10. Liz O’Brien, Mariella Marzano & Rehema White (2013) Participatory interdisciplinarity: towards the integration of disciplinary diversity with stakeholder engagement for new models of knowledge production, Science and Public Policy,  40, 1, 2013, pages 51-61.
  11. Catherine Lyall, Ann Bruce, Wendy Marsden & Laura Meagher (2013) The role of funding agencies in creating interdisciplinary knowledge, Science and Public Policy, 40, 1, pages 62 – 71

These readings formed the basis of a bi-weekly seminar in 2013 between researchers, teachers, alumni and students who convened to reflect on interdisciplinary research and knowledge. The criteria we used for choosing the references were quality, originality and relevance to our context. We also considered the educational value for a wider audience, as these references – translated into Spanish – were to be the basis for a book.

The first two references address the question of what interdisciplinarity is and what it means, and were chosen to help open the discussion.

The second group of references (3 to 6) address the question “Is it possible to define interdisciplinarity?” with works by Julie Thompson Klein showing the evolution of thinking about interdisciplinarity, and Peter Weingart’s contribution exposing the complexities of building an interdisciplinary lexicon.

References 7 and 8 present ways of conducting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research. We expanded the focus to include transdisciplinary research to broaden the conversation beyond interdisciplinarity. Although research which fits all the hallmarks of transdisciplinarity is conducted at our university, it is not recognized as such.

The final two sets of references cover working with non-research stakeholders (9 and 10) and conclude by addressing the question of how to foster and promote interdisciplinarity (reference 11).

To complement the English chapters, leading researchers from Universidad de la República wrote commentaries, as follows:

  1. “Hacia la interdisciplina en el siglo XXI” (“Towards interdisciplinarity in the 21st century”), by Susana Mallo (Faculty of Social Sciences).
  2. “Sobre la interdisciplina” (“On interdisciplinarity”), by Carlos Santos (Council for Extension and Outreach).
  3. “Algunas notas generales a propósito de cómo definir la interdisciplina” (“Some general notes on how to define interdisciplinarity”), by Gerardo Caetano (Faculty of Social Sciences).
  4. “¿Se puede definir la interdisciplina?” (“Can we define interdisciplinarity?”), by Rafael Radi (Faculty of Medicine).
  5. “Investigación interdisciplinaria: algunas ideas generals y el caso del manejo costero integrado” (“Interdisciplinary research: some ideas and the case of integrated coastal management”), by Daniel Conde (Faculty of Sciences).
  6. “Resolviendo problemas complejos de la vida real” (“Solving real-world complex problems”), by Marita Uruqhart (Faculty of Information and Communication).
  7. “Los aspectos político-institucionales en el desarrollo del conocimiento interdisciplinario” (“Political and institutional aspects in the development of interdisciplinary knowledge”), by Carmen Midaglia (Faculty of Social Sciences).
  8. “Desalambrar el conocimiento. Algunas reflexiones a raíz de la lectura del artículo «Cómo la investigación transdisciplinaria contribuye a la knowledge democracy de Bunders y otros” (“How to break down knowledge barriers. Reflections prompted by reading “How can transdisciplinary research contribute to knowledge democracy?” by Bunders and others”), by Gregory Randall (Faculty of Engineering).
  9. “Interdisciplina y aprendizaje institucional” (“Interdisciplinarity and institutional learning”), by Gustavo Pereira (Faculty of Humanities and Education).
  10. “Concluyendo y proyectando” (“Concluding and projecting”), by Álvaro Mombrú (Faculty of Chemistry) and Bianca Vienni (Espacio Interdisciplinario).

These chapters present the authors’ perspectives on interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. Each one presents examples from Uruguay.

The value of this book lies in several complementary aspects. First, it can be seen as a collective effort—across geographical and temporal contexts—to promote interdisciplinarity and to break down barriers for its promotion and advancement. Second, this book is the result of a series of meetings where the references were used as the basis of reflection. Finally, getting the permissions required to use the English references opened new communicational bridges between researchers in Latin America and in Europe, the United States and elsewhere. The result has been not only enhanced interdisciplinary research in Spanish-speaking countries, but also new cross-country collaborations and other interactions.

Front cover of Encuentros sobre InterdisciplinaThe book Encuentros sobre Interdisciplina is available in hard copy. If you would like a copy write to me at: biancav@ei.udelar.edu.uy.

We hope this publication will open new bridges between researchers from different latitudes and longitudes!

If you had been in our position, which English texts would you have chosen?

Biography: Bianca Vienni Baptista is currently a postdoctoral associate researcher at the Center for Methods at Leuphana University, Germany, where she is developing a project entitled ‘Challenges of inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge production: institutions, cultures and communities’. She is on leave from her position as an Associate Professor in the Academic Department at Espacio Interdisciplinario, Universidad de la República, Uruguay, and is a Level 1 researcher in the Uruguay National System of Research. Her main research interests concern science, technology and society arrangements, and inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge production and institutions.

6 thoughts on “Key readings about interdisciplinarity / Lecturas clave sobre interdisciplina

    • Thank you for your comment Gabriele!
      I do agree that the Tour d’Horizon of Literature produced by td net has proven to be a useful material and a way to keep us posted in the main literature.
      One of the problems we found when working on our book was that we could only publish some of these articles in a printed version due to author rights and a limited budget. So we somehow feel that we need a double effort to build this kind of bridges.
      For this reason, I consider we have to think of alternative ways to present our work and link it with colleagues from other countries.
      The Tour d’Horizon of Literature is a good example, as well as this blog! What other ways do you know that help achieving this aim? How can be better communicate our work to others when language differences are a barrier?

      • Your book serves two purposes. One is to provide English works to a Spanish-speaking audience. The other is to highlight some key references in interdisciplinarity. The Tour d’Horizon does only the second of these.

        I agree that we need more effective ways to communicate across language barriers, which is why we encourage bi-lingual posts in this blog.

        It needs people like you with a commitment to this task. I note your response to Ana Casnati below, where you mention your recent special section on Latin American interdisciplinary work, which will be published in Issues in interdisciplinary Studies.

        Welcome ideas by others!

  1. Bianca te felicito por este aporte y te responde con otra pregunta…porqué se tienen en cuenta únicamente textos en idioma inglés cuando también existe una trayectoria de investigaciones en interdisciplina en universidades de Méjico, Perú, Brasil entre otras que publican en otros idiomas.
    Enitendo que el inglés es el idioma científico por excelencia pero tal vez otras investigaciones se pierdan por considerar este abordaje.

    Google translate, with some modifications, renders this as: Bianca, I congratulate you for this contribution and respond with another question … why are only texts in English taken into account when there is also interdisciplinary research at universities in Mexico, Peru, Brazil and others published in other languages? I appreciate that English is the lingua franca par excellence but perhaps this loses other research.

    • Muchas gracias Ana María por tu comentario!!
      En este caso, el objetivo del libro era hacer llegar la literatura científica en inglés al público latinoamericano y brindar un puente para iniciar diálogos. Vimos la necesidad de tener acceso a esta literatura en español, también como material para nuestros estudiantes y para quienes se inician en esta área y no manejan el idioma inglés. Por eso también el libro incluye capítulos de investigadores de Uruguay que son valiosos en sí mismos y ejemplifican la trayectoria que tiene este abordaje en nuestro país.
      Recientemente, hicimos el camino inverso! Se publicará en breve una sección especial sobre la interdisciplina en Latinoamérica en Issues on Interdisciplinary Studies (Association of Interdisciplinary Studies). Allí presentamos el trabajo de nuestros colegas traducido al inglés. Uruguay, Argentina, Brasil y Mexico detallan sus investigaciones y programas de enseñanza.
      Con gusto compartiré ese material apenas esté disponible en un par de semanas!!

      • Google translate (with a few modifications) renders this as:
        Ana Maria thank you very much for your comment !!
        In this case, the purpose of the book was to get the scientific literature in English to the Latin American public and provide a bridge to start dialogues. We saw the need for access to this literature in Spanish, as well as material for our students and for beginners in this area who do not handle the English language. So the book also includes chapters by researchers from Uruguay that are valuable in themselves and exemplify the path having this approach in our country.

        Recently, we did the opposite direction! A special section on interdisciplinarity in Latin America will be published shortly in Issues on Interdisciplinary Studies (published by the Association of Interdisciplinary Studies). Here we present the work of our colleagues translated into English. Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico detailing their research and teaching programs.
        I gladly share that material which will be available in only a few weeks !!

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