In our era of burgeoning knowledge and multiplying sub-specializations, to attempt interdisciplinary research is no small task. Complex global issues, new interstices of research and trends in higher education all demand inquiry across traditional departments. As many have commented, hunger, global warming, discrimination and war do not have corresponding "departments" in the academy, yet they are issues that call for the broadest possible interdisciplinary research to challenge our preconceptions and imagine new models of understanding and enact positive and sustainable practices.
Like the spaces of a great cathedral, seemingly open to the infinite but
firmly contained by stone pillars, the architecture of each discipline structures its particular questions and field of focus. Whether by tradition or the compatibility of specific tools to specific problems, some issues never emerge from the shadows. Philosophical differences about the nature of knowledge are among the most significant barriers to interdisciplinary research. At the same time, by crossing these barriers, traditional disciplines may expand their own field of view while lending clarity and fresh approaches to the investigations of other specialties.
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- Union Seminary Quarterly Review
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- Union Theological Seminary
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- September 10, 2015