Volume 3 Issue 2 (2007): On Beyond Interdisciplinarity
Crossing the Boundaries

Temporary Anchors, Impermanent Shelter: Can the Field of Education Model a New Approach to Academic Work?

Jody Cohen
Bryn Mawr College
Alice Lesnick
Bryn Mawr College
Darla Himeles
Bryn Mawr College
Published October 29, 2007
  • interdisciplinarity,
  • power,
  • knowledge,
  • communication,
  • pedagogy,
  • education
  • ...More


Through a discussion of three pedagogical instances--based on classroom discourse, student writing, and program development--the authors examine education as an academic field, arguing that its disciplinary practices and perspectives invite interdisciplinarity and extra-disciplinarity to bridge from the academy to issues, problems, and strengths beyond it. Interdisciplinarity--understood as temporary “groundlessness”--emerges as a means to apprehend and respond to problems that in the context of past frustrations and failures may seem insurmountable; the willingness to not-know inspires new paradigms, experiences, and relationships. Extra-disciplinarity highlights the many chords running between academe and the rest of the world. Using this framework, we discuss the featured pedagogical instances as small-scale models for changing the power structures that have historically silenced some perspectives and knowledges, thus opening these structures to new inputs and connections. We conclude that while this work has no guarantees and is never complete, we must keep trying to connect beyond our academic disciplines and ourselves, both to learn and to more effectively impact the world.