P15
Anthropology and interdisciplinarity (Roundtable)

Convenors:
Laura Rival (University of Oxford)
Location:
Science Site/Chemistry CG83
Start time:
6 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:
4

Short abstract:

The question ‘How does contemporary anthropological knowledge relate to other disciplines or branches of knowledge?’ needs to be addressed ethnographically. This panel invites contributions that start from the direct experience of researchers who have or are participating within multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transdisciplinary research teams, and propose to offer detailed and contextualised accounts of these experiences.

Long abstract:

Anthropologists, who have always worked at the interface of other disciplines, have contributed to wider intellectual and policy conversations in numerous ways. Having worried at times about a trend towards sub-disciplinary specialization or about identity loss, anthropologists on the whole feel that their discipline has succeeded in retaining a clear common core. However, there is a growing awareness today that new epistemological trends and recent developments in the institutionalization of scientific research call for a collective reflection on the place and role of anthropological knowledge within academia and beyond. For reasons that have yet to be examined thoroughly, anthropologists are increasingly asked to carry out their research within teams that integrate other social scientists, and, increasingly, researchers from a range of biophysical sciences as well. Moreover, research is now expected to have ‘impact.’ Analytical reflections about the methodological and epistemological implications of interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity have multiplied, but there is still a dearth of ethnographic work on the topic. The question ‘How does contemporary anthropological knowledge relate to other disciplines or branches of knowledge?’ needs to be addressed concretely, empirically, and ethnographically. This panel invites contributions that start from the direct experience of researchers who have or are participating within multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transdisciplinary research teams. Papers will offer detailed and contextualised accounts of these experiences. What does it feel like to research in a team with other social scientists and/ or natural scientists? What agreements and disagreements are arising through collaboration? How are misunderstandings resolved, or successes and failures evaluated? In what specific ways did researchers alter their working practices or analytical frames in an attempt to produce collective or collaborative analyses? Did funding agencies and their demands constrain research collaboration, and if so, in what specific ways? Were there hierarchies of knowledge practice? How did they manifest themselves? What were the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of the collaborative experience? In what specific ways did the interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary research experience alter your way of making anthropology?

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