Interdisciplinarity As a Web

Throughout this class, I have been reading Moran’s Interdisciplinarity somewhat religiously. Religiously, but, to be brutally honest, resentfully. I didn’t connect to what he was saying and thought he was making things too complicated in his discussion. I thought that he was taking decently simple ideas and turning them into ungraspable theories, or relying too heavily on historical context that I was immediately bored by. Then, I read the conclusion. 

In the conclusion, Moran changes his form. Instead of examining interdisciplinarity from a historical standpoint, he examined it in practice. In doing so, he discussed how interdisciplinarity can “help people to think more creatively about the relationship between their own subject and other ways of doing things both within and outside universities” (165). This opened my eyes. I had been thinking of interdisciplinarity solely in regard to information or knowledge. In my mind, interdisciplinarity started and stopped at the ability to take classes from all ranges of disciplines or partaking in an intellectual experience that was different from that of one’s major. Instead, this newly formatted discussion made me realize that the idea of interdisciplinarity extends far beyond that.

Interdisciplinarity, when looked at in the way Moran discusses it in the conclusion, is like a web that connects different areas. I started thinking of a university, a metaphor that Moran utilizes in his discussion, as well. Interdisciplinarity can refer to connections between all parts of the university. It can be as if the head of mathematics at the university worked with the head of the english department to publish a new textbook, or if a biology professor needed the help of a history professor on a presentation on the history of evolution. Thinking about this idea in this context made it significantly more relatable to me and I grasped a better understanding for this concept that we’ve been exploring all semester. It made me realize that whenever I can’t fully understand something, I should try and connect its principle ideas to topics that directly correlate to my life. A good thing to realize the week before finals, maybe it’ll help me understand accounting before my big test.

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