F+D_BookRethinking Interdisciplinarity across the Social Sciences and Neurosciences, co-authored by Felicity Callard (member of Durham’s Centre for Medical Humanities (CMH) and Department of Geography) and Des Fitzgerald (Lecturer in Sociology, Cardiff University; the book was written while Des was an affiliate of the Centre for Medical Humanities) offers a provocative account of interdisciplinary research across the neurosciences, social sciences and humanities. Setting itself against standard accounts of interdisciplinary ‘integration,’ and rooting itself in the authors’ own experiences, the book establishes a radical agenda for collaboration across these disciplines.

Rethinking Interdisciplinarity does not merely advocate interdisciplinary research, but attends to the hitherto tacit pragmatics, affects, power dynamics, and spatial logics in which that research is enfolded. Understanding the complex relationships between brains, minds, and environments requires a delicate, playful and genuinely experimental interdisciplinarity, and this book shows us how it can be done.

The book was written entirely within the collaborative space of The Hub at Wellcome Collection in the context of Hubbub’s residency there. Felicity and Des draw on their extensive history of organizing interdisciplinary events across the social sciences and neurosciences (as documented in the workshop Experimental Entanglements in Cognitive Neuroscience, and in these CMH blog posts: Experimental Entanglements in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neurocritiques? Neuroentanglements? Thinking through Collaboration with Cognitive Neuro-Sciences/Scientists) and of writing about them (see, in particular, Des Fitzgerald and Felicity Callard (2015) “Social Science and Neuroscience Beyond Interdisciplinarity: Experimental Entanglements”, published Open Access in Theory, Culture & Society).

The book’s chapters are:

Introduction: Not Another Book About Interdisciplinarity
(1) Meeting People is Easy: The Pragmatics of Interdisciplinary Collaboration
(2) “Which Way Does It Go Between You Two?”: Modes of Interdisciplinary Intervention
(3) Environmental Entanglements: Neurological Lives and Social Worlds
(4) States of Rest: Interdisciplinary Experiments
(5) Choreographing the Interdisciplinary
(6) Against Reciprocity: Dynamics of Power in Interdisciplinary Spaces
(7) Feeling Fuzzy: The Emotional Life of Interdisciplinary Collaboration

This book is published by Palgrave Macmillan within its innovative Pivot format — which allows authors to publish at lengths of between 25,000 and 50,000 words and to take advantage of a swift and flexible publication process that dramatically reduces publication times. The book is published open access under a CC-BY license and is funded by The Wellcome Trust in the context of the Hubbub grant.

Felicity and Des will be discussing “Rethinking Interdisciplinarity”, Open Access, and cross-disciplinary academic publishing at Wellcome Collection on 13 November at “The Changing Face of Academic Research and Publishing: Creating a Dialogue around the Book (London)”. You can book a free place here.

Felicity and Des warmly welcome your thoughts on and reactions to the book.


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