Frank Capogna, Framingham State University, email@example.com and Alexandra Gold, Boston University, firstname.lastname@example.org
In his recent essay on new technologies and artist’s books, Kyle Schlesinger leaves open the question: “could it be … that for all of the lip service devoted to interdisciplinary, multimedia, transgenre practices, students and teachers are discouraged from wandering beyond the confines of their own department?” This seminar seeks to generate possible responses to Schlesinger’s provocation, asking participants to consider the position of interdisciplinarity—as textual practice, as critical methodology, and as an institutional byword—in the academy. We welcome papers from scholars working at all levels that approach the status of interdisciplinarity from a variety of perspectives. Questions we might ask include: How did modern and contemporary writers negotiate the relations among the arts, and how can their work inform our understanding of interdisciplinary scholarship? Are there still merits to falling back on the approved critical approaches of traditional disciplines when examining multidisciplinary and collaborative literary works? What space is provided for mixed media or collaborative works in received literary canons? How is interdisciplinarity framed in pedagogical, publishing, and hiring practices in the academy today? Is disciplinary specialization professionally advantageous, particularly as jobs in the humanities become increasingly scarce? By considering questions such as these, we hope to recover the sense of “inbetweeness” or messiness that often accompanies work (both creative and critical) that moves across conventional disciplinary terrains. Together, we hope to restore the significance of interdisciplinary creative works to modern and contemporary literary history, and in doing so to think through the underlying assumptions about interdisciplinarity in academe.