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Africa and the Disciplines
The Contributions of Research in Africa to the Social Sciences and Humanities
Edited by Robert H. Bates, V. Y. Mudimbe, and Jean F. O'Barr
University of Chicago Press, 1993

African Studies, contrary to some accounts, is not a separate continent in the world of American higher education. Its intellectual borders touch those of economics, literature, history, philosophy, and art; its history is the story of the world, both ancient and modern. This is the clear conclusion of Africa and the Disciplines, a book that addresses the question: Why should Africa be studied in the American university?

This question was put to distinguished scholars in the social sciences and humanities, prominent Africanists who are also leaders in their various disciplines. Their responses make a strong and enlightening case for the importance of research on Africa to the academy.

Paul Collier's essay, for example, shows how studies of African economies have clarified our understanding of the small open economies, and contributed to the theory of repressed inflation and to a number of areas in microeconomics as well. Art historian Suzanne Blier uses the terms and concepts that her discipline has applied to Africa to analyze the habits of mind and social practice of her own field. Christopher L. Miller describes the confounding and enriching impact of Africa on European and American literary theory. Political scientist Richard Sklar outlines Africa's contributions to the study of political modernization, pluralism, and rational choice. These essays, together with others from scholars in history, anthropology, philosophy, and comparative literature, attest to the influence of African research throughout the curriculum.

For many, knowledge from Africa seems distant and exotic. These powerful essays suggest the contrary: that such knowledge has shaped the way in which scholars in various disciplines understand their worlds. Eloquent testimony to Africa's necessary place in the mainstream of American education, this book should alter the academy's understanding of the significance of African research, its definition of core and periphery in human knowledge.

"These essays are at once exceptionally thoughtful and remarkably comprehensive. Not only do they offer an unusually interesting overview of African studies; they are also striking for the depth and freshness of their insights. This is the sort of volume from which both seasoned regional experts and students stand to learn an enormous amount."—John Comaroff, University of Chicago

"These essays provide an important perspective on the evolution of African studies and offer insights into what Africa can mean for the different humanistic and social science disciplines. Many show in ingenious and subtle ways the enormous potential that the study of Africa has for confounding the main tenets of established fields. One could only hope that the strictures expressed here would be taken to heart in the scholarly world."—Robert L. Tignor, Princeton University


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Autobiographical Writing Across the Disciplines
A Reader
Diane P. Freedman and Olivia Frey, eds.
Duke University Press, 2003
Autobiographical Writing Across the Disciplines reveals the extraordinary breadth of the intellectual movement toward self-inclusive scholarship. Presenting exemplary works of criticism incorporating personal narratives, this volume brings together twenty-seven essays from scholars in literary studies and history, mathematics and medicine, philosophy, music, film, ethnic studies, law, education, anthropology, religion, and biology. Pioneers in the development of the hybrid genre of personal scholarship, the writers whose work is presented here challenge traditional modes of inquiry and ways of knowing. In assembling their work, editors Diane P. Freedman and Olivia Frey have provided a rich source of reasons for and models of autobiographical criticism.

The editors’ introduction presents a condensed history of academic writing, chronicles the origins of autobiographical criticism, and emphasizes the role of feminism in championing the value of personal narrative to disciplinary discourse. The essays are all explicitly informed by the identities of their authors, among whom are a feminist scientist, a Jewish filmmaker living in Germany, a potential carrier of Huntington’s disease, and a doctor pregnant while in medical school. Whether describing how being a professor of ethnic literature necessarily entails being an activist, how music and cooking are related, or how a theology is shaped by cultural identity, the contributors illuminate the relationship between their scholarly pursuits and personal lives and, in the process, expand the boundaries of their disciplines.


Kwame Anthony Appiah
Ruth Behar
Merrill Black
David Bleich
James Cone
Brenda Daly
Laura B. DeLind
Carlos L. Dews
Michael Dorris
Diane P. Freedman
Olivia Frey
Peter Hamlin
Laura Duhan Kaplan
Perri Klass
Muriel Lederman
Deborah Lefkowitz
Eunice Lipton
Robert D. Marcus
Donald Murray
Seymour Papert
Carla T. Peterson
David Richman
Sara Ruddick
Julie Tharp
Bonnie TuSmith
Alex Wexler
Naomi Weisstein
Patricia Williams


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Bakhtin in Contexts
Across the Disciplines
Amy Mandelker
Northwestern University Press, 1995
The Russian critic M. M. Bakhtin has recently become a major figure in contemporary theory beyond his traditional influence in Slavic literary studies. Bakhtin in Contexts explores the revolutionary impact Bakhtin's ideas have carried in contemporary discussion of language, art, culture, and social science in recent years. The contributors represent a broad range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, epitomizing the views of Russian and American specialists in those fields Bakhtin often referred to as "the human sciences." The diversity of perspective and flexibility of approach make this a unique contribution to Bakhtin studies and to the ongoing dialogue between Western and Russian theorists.

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Chaos of Disciplines
Andrew Abbott
University of Chicago Press, 2000
In this vital new study, Andrew Abbott presents a fresh and daring analysis of the evolution and development of the social sciences. Chaos of Disciplines reconsiders how knowledge actually changes and advances. Challenging the accepted belief that social sciences are in a perpetual state of progress, Abbott contends that disciplines instead cycle around an inevitable pattern of core principles. New schools of thought, then, are less a reaction to an established order than they are a reinvention of fundamental concepts.
Chaos of Disciplines uses fractals to explain the patterns of disciplines, and then applies them to key debates that surround the social sciences. Abbott argues that knowledge in different disciplines is organized by common oppositions that function at any level of theoretical or methodological scale. Opposing perspectives of thought and method, then, in fields ranging from history, sociology, and literature, are to the contrary, radically similar; much like fractals, they are each mutual reflections of their own distinctions.

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Childfree across the Disciplines
Academic and Activist Perspectives on Not Choosing Children
Davinia Thornley
Rutgers University Press, 2022

Recently, childfree people have been foregrounded in mainstream media. More than seven percent of Western women choose to remain childfree and this figure is increasing. Being childfree challenges the ‘procreation imperative’ residing at the center of our hetero-normative understandings, occupying an uneasy position in relation to—simultaneously—traditional academic ideologies and prevalent social norms. After all, as Adi Avivi recognizes, "if a woman is not a mother, the patriarchal social order is in danger." This collection engages with these (mis)perceptions about childfree people: in media representations, demographics, historical documents, and both psychological and philosophical models. Foundational pieces from established experts on the childfree choice--Rhonny Dam, Laurie Lisle, Christopher Clausen, and Berenice Fisher--appear alongside both activist manifestos and original scholarly work, comprehensively brought together. Academics and activists in various disciplines and movements also riff on the childfree life: its implications, its challenges, its conversations, and its agency—all in relation to its inevitability in the 21st century. Childfree across the Disciplines unequivocally takes a stance supporting the subversive potential of the childfree choice, allowing readers to understand childfreedom as a sense of continuing potential in who—or what—a person can become.


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Demarcating the Disciplines
Philosophy, Literature, Art
Samuel Weber, Henry Sussman, and Wlad Godzich, Editors
University of Minnesota Press, 1986

Demarcating the Disciplines was first published in 1986. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

With publication of this volume, Glyph begins a new stage in its existence: the move from Johns Hopkins University Press to the University of Minnesota Press is accompanied by a change in focus. In its first incarnation Glyph provided a forum in which established notions of reading, writing, and criticism could be questioned and explored. Since then, the greater currency of such concerns has brought with it new problems and priorities. Setting aside the battles of the past, the new Glyph looks ahead - to confront historical issues and to address the institutional and pedagogical questions emerging from the contemporary critical landscape.

Each volume in the new Glyph series is organized around a specific issue. The essays in this first volume explore the relations between the practice of reading and writing and the operations of the institution. Though their approaches differ from one another, the authors of these essays all recognize that the questions of the institution - most notably the university - points toward a series of constraints that define, albeit negatively, the possibilities for change.

The contributors: Samuel Weber, Jacques Derrida, Tom Conley, Malcolm Evans, Ruth Salvaggio, Robert Young, Henry Sussman, Peter Middleton, David Punter, and Donald Preziosi.

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Everyday Genres
Writing Assignments across the Disciplines
Mary Soliday
Southern Illinois University Press, 2011
In Everyday Genres: Writing Assignments across the Disciplines, Mary Soliday calls on genre theory- which proposes that writing cannot be separated from social situation-to analyze the common assignments given to writing students in the college classroom, and to investigate how new writers and expert readers respond to a variety of types of coursework in different fields. This in-depth study of writing pedagogy looks at many challenges facing both instructors and students in college composition classes, and offers a thorough and refreshing exploration of writing experience, ability, and rhetorical situation. 

Soliday provides an overview of the contemporary theory and research in Writing across the Curriculum programs, focusing specifically on the implementation of the Writing Fellows Program at the City College of New York. Drawing on her direct observations of colleagues and students at the school, she addresses the everyday challenges that novice writers face, such as developing an appropriate "stance" in one's writing, and the intricacies of choosing and developing content. 

The volume then goes on to address some of the most pressing questions being asked by teachers of composition: To what extent can writing be separated from its situation? How can rhetorical expertise be shared across fields? And to what degree is writing ability local rather than general? Soliday argues that, while writing is closely connected to situation, general rhetorical principles can still be capably applied if those situations are known. The key to improving writing instruction, she maintains, is to construct contexts that expose writers to the social actions that genres perform for readers. 

Supplementing the author's case study are six appendixes, complete with concrete examples and helpful teaching tools to establish effective classroom practices and exercises in Writing across the Curriculum programs. Packed with useful information and insight, Everyday Genres is an essential volume for both students and teachers seeking to expand their understanding of the nature of writing.

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Across the Disciplines
Jan Plamper
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012
This volume provides a cross-disciplinary examination of fear, that most unruly of our emotions, by offering a broad survey of the psychological, biological, and philosophical basis of fear in historical and contemporary contexts. The contributors, leading figures in clinical psychology, neuroscience, the social sciences, and the humanities, consider categories of intentionality, temporality, admixture, spectacle, and politics in evaluating conceptions of fear.

    Individual chapters treat manifestations of fear in the mass panic of the stock market crash of 1929, as spectacle in warfare and in horror films, and as a political tool to justify security measures in the wake of terrorist acts. They also describe the biological and evolutionary roots of fear, fear as innate versus learned behavior in both humans and animals, and conceptions of human “passions” and their self-mastery from late antiquity to the early modern era. Additionally, the contributors examine theories of intentional and non-intentional reactivity, the process of fear-memory coding, and contemporary psychology’s emphasis on anxiety disorders.

Overall, the authors point to fear as a dense and variable web of responses to external and internal stimuli. Our thinking about these reactions is just as complex. In response, this volume opens a dialogue between science and the humanities to afford a more complete view of an emotion that has shaped human behavior since time immemorial.

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Graduate Writing Across the Disciplines
Identifying, Teaching, and Supporting
Marilee Brooks-Gillies
University Press of Colorado, 2020
In Graduate Writing Across the Disciplines, the editors and their colleagues argue that graduate education must include a wide range of writing support designed to identify writers’ needs, teach writers through direct instruction, and support writers through programs such as writing centers, writing camps, and writing groups. The chapters in this collection demonstrate that attending to the needs of graduate writers requires multiple approaches and thoughtful attention to the distinctive contexts and resources of individual universities while remaining mindful of research on and across similar programs at other universities.

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In Defense of Disciplines
Interdisciplinarity and Specialization in the Research University
Jerry A. Jacobs
University of Chicago Press, 2014
Calls for closer connections among disciplines can be heard throughout the world of scholarly research, from major universities to the National Institutes of Health. In Defense of Disciplines presents a fresh and daring analysis of the argument surrounding interdisciplinarity. Challenging the belief that blurring the boundaries between traditional academic fields promotes more integrated research and effective teaching, Jerry Jacobs contends that the promise of interdisciplinarity is illusory and that critiques of established disciplines are often overstated and misplaced.

Drawing on diverse sources of data, Jacobs offers a new theory of liberal arts disciplines such as biology, economics, and history that identifies the organizational sources of their dynamism and breadth. Illustrating his thesis with a wide range of case studies including the diffusion of ideas between fields, the creation of interdisciplinary scholarly journals, and the rise of new fields that spin off from existing ones, Jacobs turns many of the criticisms of disciplines on their heads to mount a powerful defense of the enduring value of liberal arts disciplines. This will become one of the anchors of the case against interdisciplinarity for years to come.

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The Making of the Humanities
Volume II: From Early Modern to Modern Disciplines
Edited by Rens Bod, Jaap Maat, and Thijs Weststeijn
Amsterdam University Press, 2013
While it is clear that around 1800 the humanities as a discipline rose to prominence, it is less clear what the exact nature of this shift in academia was. Was it a sudden revolution caused by a momentary but powerful change in the zeitgeist or the turning point of a much longer process? In this volume, the editors have selected a series of essays that look at the origins of the humanities and find that long before 1800 the concept of the humanities was already at the fore. The shift around 1800 was thus mostly institutional, not theoretical. The Making of the Humanities traces this new finding through a broad range of disciplines including literary theory, linguistics, art history, and musicology.


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Perspectives from the Disciplines
Stanford Online High School
Jeffrey Scarborough and Raymond Ravaglia
In this companion volume to Bricks and Mortar, Jeffrey Scarborough and Raymond Ravaglia present a series of essays written by senior instructors and division heads at the Stanford Online High School (SOHS). Written from the perspective of the online-learning practitioner, these essays discuss in detail the challenges of teaching particular disciplines, accomplishing particular pedagogical objectives, and fostering the habits of mind characteristic of students who have received deep education in a given discipline. Perspectives from the Disciplines also examines counseling, student services, and student life viewpoints as it discusses how a truly international community has been fostered at SOHS, and how SOHS’s student relationships are in many ways deeper and more intimate than those found in traditional secondary schools.

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Prototyping Across the Disciplines
Designing Better Futures
Edited by Jennifer Roberts-Smith, Stan Ruecker, Milena Radzikowska
Intellect Books, 2020

Fields of study progress not by understanding more about what already exists, although that is a useful step, but by making guesses about possible better futures. The guesses consist of small forays into those futures, using strategies that are variously called learning through making, research through design, or more simply: prototyping. While traditionally associated primarily with industrial design, and more recently with software development, prototyping is now used as an important tool in areas ranging from materials engineering to landscape architecture to the digital humanities. This book collects current theories and methods of prototyping across a dozen disciplines and illustrates them through case studies of actual projects, whether in industry or the classroom. 

Prototyping Across the Disciplines provides context, a theoretical framework, and a set of methodologies for interdisciplinary collaboration in design. Each chapter offers a different disciplinary perspective on prototyping and provides a case study as a point of comparison for identifying commonalities and divergences in current practices. In examining the central role of prototyping in design research, this edited collection demonstrates theoretical and methodological transferability across disciplines not typically thought to be related, including post-human design, theatre, tabletop game design, landscape architecture, and arts entrepreneurship.


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Questions of Evidence
Proof, Practice, and Persuasion across the Disciplines
Edited by James Chandler, Arnold I. Davidson, and Harry D. Harootunian
University of Chicago Press, 1994
Biologists, historians, lawyers, art historians, and literary critics all voice arguments in the critical dialogue about what constitutes evidence in research and scholarship. They examine not only the constitution and "blurring" of disciplinary boundaries, but also the configuration of the fact-evidence distinctions made in different disciplines and historical moments; the relative function of such concepts as "self-evidence," "experience," "test," "testimony," and "textuality" in varied academic discourses; and the way "rules of evidence" are themselves products of historical developments.

The essays and rejoinders are by Terry Castle, Lorraine Daston, Carlo Ginzburg, Ian Hacking, Mark Kelman, R. C. Lewontin, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Mary Poovey, Donald Preziosi, Simon Schaffer, Joan W. Scott, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Barbara Herrnstein Smith.

The critical responses are by Lauren Berlant, James Chandler, Jean Comaroff, Arnold I. Davidson, Harry D. harootunian, Elizabeth Helsinger, Thomas C. Holt, Francoise Meltzer, Robert J. Richards, Lawrence Rothfield, Joel Snyder, Cass R. Sunstein, and William Wimsatt.

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Rhetorical Strategies and Genre Conventions in Literary Studies
Teaching and Writing in the Disciplines
Laura Wilder
Southern Illinois University Press, 2012

Laura Wilder fills a gap in the scholarship on writing in the disciplines and writing across the curriculum with this thorough study of the intersections between scholarly literary criticism and undergraduate writing in introductory literature courses. Rhetorical Strategies and Genre Conventions in Literary Studies is the first examination of rhetorical practice in the research and teaching of literary study and a detailed assessment of the ethics and efficacy of explicit instruction in the rhetorical strategies and genre conventions of the discipline.

Using rhetorical analysis, ethnographic observation, and individual interviews, Wilder demonstrates how rhetorical conventions play a central, although largely tacit, role in the teaching of literature and the evaluation of student writing. Wilder follows a group of literature majors and details their experiences. Some students received experimental, explicit instruction in the special topoi, while others received more traditional, implicit instruction.

Arguing explicit instruction in disciplinary conventions has the potential to help underprepared students, Wilder explores how this kind of instruction may be incorporated into literature courses without being overly reductive. Taking into consideration student perspectives, Wilder makes a bold case for expanding the focus of research in writing in the disciplines and writing across the curriculum in order to grasp the full complexity of disciplinary discourse.


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Transforming Contagion
Risky Contacts among Bodies, Disciplines, and Nations
Fahs, Breanne
Rutgers University Press, 2018
2019 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Moving from viruses, vaccines, and copycat murder to gay panics, xenophobia, and psychopaths, Transforming Contagion energetically fuses critical humanities and social science perspectives into a boundary-smashing interdisciplinary collection on contagion. The contributors provocatively suggest contagion to be as full of possibilities for revolution and resistance as it is for the descent into madness, malice, and extensive state control. The infectious practices rooted in politics, film, psychological exchanges, social movements, the classroom, and the circulation of a literary text or meme on social media compellingly reveal patterns that emerge in those attempts to re-route, quarantine, define, or even exacerbate various contagions.  

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What Should Schools Teach?
Disciplines, Subjects and the Pursuit of Truth
Edited by Alka Sehgal Cuthbert and Alex Standish
University College London, 2021
A robust rationale on what schools should teach and how.

The design of school curricula involves deep thought about the nature of knowledge and its value to learners and society. Such a serious responsibility raises a number of questions: What is knowledge for? What knowledge is important for children to learn? How do we decide what knowledge matters in each school subject? The blurring of distinctions between pedagogy and curriculum, as well as that between experience and knowledge, has resulted in a confusing message for teachers about the part that each plays in the education of children. This book aims to dispel confusion through a robust rationale for what schools should teach, offering key understanding to teachers of the relationship between knowledge and their own pedagogy. This second edition includes new chapters on chemistry, drama, music, and religious education, as well as an updated chapter on biology. A revised introduction reflects on the emerging discourse around decolonizing the curriculum and on the relationship between the knowledge that children encounter at school and in their homes.

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