Investigates the changing relationship of humanities, culture, and interdisciplinarity and its impact on humanities disciplines, American culture studies, and undergraduate education.
The study of culture in the American academy is not confined to a single field, but is a broad-based set of interests located within and across disciplines. This book investigates the relationship among three major ideas in the American academyinterdisciplinarity, humanities, and cultureand traces the convergence of these ideas from the colonial college to new scholarly developments in the latter half of the twentieth century. Its aim is twofold: to define the changing relationship of these three ideas and, in the course of doing so, to extend present thinking about the concept of “American cultural studies.” The book includes two sets of case studiesthe first on the implications of interdisciplinarity for literary studies, art history, and music; the second on the shifting trajectories of American studies, African American studies, and women’s studiesand concludes by asking what impact new scholarly practices have had on humanities education, particularly on the undergraduate curriculum.
“Klein … describes in detail the problems that have dogged interdisciplinary work—dilettantism, ‘intellectual poaching,’ problems of integration of fields, interdisciplinary claims for what are really only ‘multidisciplinary’ approaches, and problems of access to institutional resources and recognition. However, she convincingly presents the arguments about these issues as central to interdisciplinarity’s strength and vitality, and, implicitly, the key to the interdisciplinary humanities’ viability as a source of democratic renewal in the twenty-first century.” — JAC
“This is a wonderfully well-informed, intelligent, and important book. Its conclusions are sometimes surprising, but always very convincing.” June Howard, University of Michigan
“This book’s special contribution is the narrative of the highly significant practice of boundary crossingor the use of interdisciplinary strategies for research and teaching in cultural studyand the transformation in the intellectual organization of the university itself in practice and in institutionalization.” Beth A. Casey, Bowling Green State University
Julie Thompson Klein is Professor of Humanities at Wayne State University and is the author of Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory, and Practice.