The following is an article written in September, 2004, a shortened version of which is scheduled to appear in Academe in May/June 2006. A somewhat differently focused draft, subtitled "Metaphor and Metonymy, Synechdoche and Surprise", is also available. The article reflects the authors' experiences working in programs of the Center for Science in Society at Bryn Mawr College, and is made available on Serendip as a contribution to continuing discussion of the meaning and significance of interdisciplinarity.

An public on line forum is available for ongoing conversation about issues and developments related to this topic. Email us about arrangements to contribute to this discussion in other ways.

Theorizing Interdisciplinarity:
The Evolution of New Academic and Intellectual Communities

Anne Dalke (English and Gender Studies)
Paul Grobstein (Biology)
Elizabeth McCormack (Physics)
Bryn Mawr College

Learning is always a little bit transgressive, and what we learn around the edges of . . . established disciplines often sticks more than what we learn when we're in harness....If the new interdisciplines and study groups that now occupy and preoccupy us so excitingly were to become the center of the academy, they would in turn become conventional, and the center of intellectual interest and provocation would move elsewhere.

Marjorie Garber. Groucho Marx and
"Coercive Voluntarism" in Academe

We have a very different notion from Garber's. Interdisciplinary conversations are, we believe, already well on the way to becoming the "center of the academy,"and of intellectual life in general. Moreover, the pleasurable and transgressive qualities of such conversations are not only a key part of the reason for their success, but will persist indefinitely as a welcome legacy of the current transformation. The very nature of interdisciplinarity, as we understand it, requires that those who engage in it will always be working beyond the edges of what they know how to do well; in conception and methodology, such work cannot become conventional.

This revolution-in-progress is seeded by and provides an antidote for many of the ills of traditional, discipline-focused academic life. Like all revolutions, however, it stems from a wide variety of different dissatisfactions and unmet aspirations, and is, in its early stages, a little inchoate both in justification and in evolving practices. Further, because interdisciplinary activities differ sharply from the prior training and experiences of many of us, they can also be a little daunting. In this essay, we describe our own experiences in becoming comfortable with interdisciplinary work and exploring its distinct brand of productivity. We will then try and distill at least the outlines of a new framework by which to understand the distinct nature of the creativity of interdisciplinary work and its unique potential for sustainable inquiry at the interfaces of academic domains.

Providing opportunities and encouragement for faculty to take the risks inherent in interdisciplinary work will be a critical factor in the future success of academic institutions. Diana Rhoten's study of interdisciplinary research centers in the sciences, for example, highlights the important distinction between truly interdisciplinary investigations and the more common practice of collaborative associations; Rhoten's work calls attention to a significant gap between ambition and practice in the interdisciplinary realm. It is significant that a similar need for "more dialogic, coordinated, and intellectually fruitful cooperation" in the humanities has also been expressed (Seyhan, 2004). Closing the gap between ambition and practice will require clearer understandings of the key elements that contribute to effective interdisciplinary work, and a corresponding greater commitment to those elements at all institutional levels.

The experiences we describe are rooted in our participation in a series of interdisciplinary exchanges involving faculty, staff, and students sponsored by the Center for Science in Society at Bryn Mawr College. A structure designed to facilitate "broad conversation," as a counter-balance to more traditional disciplinary structures of support and encouragement, is, we believe, one essential element in encouraging movements toward interdisciplinary exchange in most institutional contexts. Bringing together people who have been disciplined differently in settings in which they are committed to extended exchange with one another provides the kind of experiences that persuade individuals not only of their capacity to engage in interdisciplinary conversation, but the value, to themselves, of doing so.

Our basic assertion is that interdisciplinary engagement constitutes productive play of a unusually generative sort: insistently enabled by disciplinary training, it just as insistently challenges us to revise and potentially transcend the ways in which we understand and employ our own disciplinary terms. By bringing into the center of the academy the previously "fringe" activity of trying to figure out how to do what we haven't been trained to do (as opposed to trying to do what we have been trained to do faster or better than others similarly trained), interdisciplinary conversations provide a continuing and refreshing counterbalance to the "conventional." They both invigorate disciplinary work and call attention to potentially fruitful new areas of exploration involving broader patterns that are less visible from strictly disciplinary perspectives. We hope our ability to tease out the dynamics of how this happens will help to distinguish the nature and worth of interdisciplinary exchanges from those better described as simply collaborative (or "multidisciplinary"); we aim to show, as well, how they can lead to a closer and more productive relation between the classroom environment and scholarship, and move us toward a much needed greater engagement between academic activity and broader social and political concerns.

This essay is itself our first line of evidence for the generativity of interdisciplinary conversation. It evolved from the intersection of the quite different perspectives of a literary scholar, a biologist, and a physicist, and reflects as well the voices of colleagues in a variety of other disciplines. Tracing some of the experiences that gave rise to this essay will show that meaningful and productive interdisciplinary conversation need be neither daunting nor particularly abstruse. It requires little more than allowing ourselves to remember the curiosity which brought us into intellectual work in the first place, then granting ourselves and others permission to act out of that motivation, and to recognize the avoidable constraints that the boundaries of disciplinary training and perspectives can produce. There's nothing to lose but our harnesses...and a world to gain.

Metaphor and Metonymy

Our new conceptualization originated in one of the Center's working groups on The Culture of Science. A conversation there provided the seed for the framework we describe in the following and also serves as a specific example of interdisciplinary conversation and its benefits. Ted Wong, a member of the Biology faculty who specializes in computational science, drew a distinction between "metaphoric" and "metonymic" kinds of thinking to posit a split between the work of theoretical and observational scientists, a split he felt to be so profound that communication between the two was nearly impossible. Ted maintained that theorists come up with "metaphors," abstractions that say something about the natural world by pointing, for example, to a set of equations or algorithms. Critics ask whether these abstract models can meaningfully resemble nature. In contrast, observational scientists collect and study "metonymies," spatially and temporally related sets of observations on natural phenomena. This type of work is seen and challenged quite differently: are the observations accurately reported, and are they adequately representative of the larger whole of which they are a part or a sample? Theorists and observers, in other words, approach investigation both with different tools and with different modes of evaluation.

It is particularly significant, in the present context, that Ted borrowed the terms "metaphor" and "metonymy" from literary and linguistic spheres. In a classic 1956 essay entitled "Two Aspects of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances," the linguist Roman Jakobson described the metaphoric and metonymic poles of a continuum of severe language disorders which are known collectively as aphasia. Jakobson interpreted these extremes in relation to two distinct forms of semantic association: one topic may lead to another either metaphorically (through relatedness in categories or other abstractions), or metonymically (through contiguity in space or time). The two kinds of language behaviors, Jakobson suggested, might be the result of the disturbance of two different sets of cognitive processes. Rob Wozniak and Jane Hedley, our colleagues in Psychology and English, reported that Jakobson's usage has long historical roots and is generally still followed, with metaphor being understood as relatedness in terms of "categorization" and metonymy as relatedness in terms of "temporal or spatial contiguity." The classic demonstration of the difference between the two hinges on the associations evoked when we hear the word "cat." If we think "dog," we are operating metaphorically (the relation is one between categories); if we think "claw," our response is metonymic (the relation is "neighborly"; in this case, between a whole and one of its parts).

Ted's use of "metaphor" and "metonymy" not only illustrated the usefulness of interdisciplinary borrowing for better understanding his own work, but gave voice to his disciplinary experiences and concerns in terms that made them accessible to a broader audience. Ted was able both to make sense for himself and to communicate to the rest of us aspects of his own disciplinary experience, in this case a repeated frustration in getting observational scientists to appreciate the significance of modeling as a research activity. In so doing, Ted also opened up a broader field of exploration. The communication difficulties within biology seemed great enough to lead Ted to suggest that the metaphoric and metonymic perspectives were irreconcilable. Addressing this assertion led us to understand the broad relevance of such tension between two modes of investigations; similar tensions occur in all disciplines. Even more importantly, we found ourselves adopting a more dynamic approach to these two modes of investigation, and came to realize they might not in fact be competing and irreconcilable. Instead, we began to see their cyclic tension as providing the fuel to create new understandings. We came to feel that the interplay between metaphoric expression and metonymic observations is the essential element of productive interdisciplinary exchange.

We increasingly recognized, in our conversations, that we were using each others' theory to raise new questions, and others' new data to provoke our own new theories. As we did so, we realized that metaphor inevitably generates the exploration of new metonymic relations, which in turn provoke a reconsideration of metaphoric constructions. Once we came to understand that the two modes of thinking were reciprocally productive, we were also able to see that they flourished particularly in conversations among colleagues who used different frameworks for describing the world, different metaphors which it is useful to "translate" and elaborate into metonyms, in order to make themselves understandable to one another. As Teri Reynolds observes, "concepts from one can be used to help us see new things about the other . . . . unexpected associations . . . reorganize a familiar conceptual field and allow us to behave differently within it" (1996: 62).

While such movement occurs and plays an important role within an individual (Grobstein 2002, Dalke and Grobstein 2003), our concern here is primarily with the movement between individuals whose disciplinary training and experiences have resulted in significantly different metonymic expressions, metaphoric constructions and relations between the two. Such movement is more likely to occur when there is room for it: that is, if the conceptual space between participants is larger than is possible for those who share a discipline. Reorganization may also be provoked when colleagues from the same department leave the shared site where their understanding of the relationship between their disciplinary metaphors and their metonymic landscapes is so fixed as to be invisible. The disciplinary landscape is grounded in that common understanding, but as we engage in conversation with colleagues from other divisions of the college who understand the relationship differently, it is unsettled. The fields of play shift perpetually.

More generally, characterizing the interplay between metaphoric and metonymic modes of thinking yields insights into--and perhaps helps to span--the "two cultures" divide which continues to trouble academia more than fifty years after C.P. Snow first called attention to it. While each culture uses both metaphor and metonymy, it may well be that scientists, seeking simple and unifying relations that capture key aspects of an object under study, highlight the metaphoric representation of their ideas. Humanists, who think in terms of many variables and complicated relations, in illustrative but unique situations, may employ metonymic expressions more frequently. In interdisciplinary conversations, information is continually translated back and forth between the two systems. In the process, the presumptions which underlie the discussion are continuously and productively altered. This, we posit, could be a distinctive way of bridging the two cultures gap, one which demonstrates a concrete working out of the analysis recently presented by Stephen Jay Gould in The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox: Mending the Gap Between Science and the Humanities (2003).

"The View From Everywhere"

A noteworthy extension of our thinking about metaphor and metonym occurred during one of our conversations about what the philosopher Thomas Nagel famously called "the view from nowhere," the traditional attempt of science to arrive at objective measurements devoid of individual influence. We posited that what may be needed is instead the "view from everywhere": sorting through various perspectives not in order to strip away all that is personal, experiential and contextual, but rather to discover the widest range of what can be seen in common. As we explored the possibility that the attempt of realist philosophers and scientists to "get far enough away to see the correct picture" might be replaced by a fundamentally different form of knowledge, one that is culturally transcendent without attempting to shed all particularity, a number of us experienced a marked conceptual shift. We understood ourselves as using interdisciplinary work not to become "less particular," but rather to think through and with the particular, to construct a new story that could include the perspective of each of us. The dynamics of this sort of interdisciplinary interaction are imaged in the figure below, which suggests that the most generative exchange between individuals occurs not exclusively and not even primarily as a metaphoric process, but rather as a reciprocal "loop" between the metaphoric relations of one individual and the metonymic structures of another. Grappling with the metaphors of another challenges and changes our own metonymic landscapes, which in turn alters our own metaphors, which may in turn alter others'.

Figure 1. Schematic illustrating the intellectual exchange between two individuals in an indisciplinary conversation. Solid lines depict individuals constructing knowledge by traversing their own metaphoric and metonymic levels. Dashed lines represent the interaction between the metaphor level of one individual and the metonymic level of another

This interpersonal kind of "looping" will not be unfamiliar to most readers: it is the way poems invite associations. See, for example, Mary Thomas Crane's discussion, in Shakespeare's Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory, which is particularly insightful in its identification of the "surplus of cognitive linkage," the "subversive effects" of wordplay that "exposes buried links and structures" in those who read and study them (2001: 33). These elements are central to our concept of the generative exchange between metaphor and metonym.

George Lakoff suggests that the creation and use of metaphor is a fundamental aspect of human cognition, one that appears in rudimentary form quite early in life. Leslie Rescorla, of our Psychology Department, offered a nice illustration of this: two-year-olds who engage in "over-extended word meanings"--such as calling snow on one's head a hat, or dripping water "tick tock"--linguistic gestures which they are later taught to call metaphors. Intellectuals are appropriately and insistently trained to create, exchange, and build on such metaphors. For example, physicists talk about the movement of charge as an electric current, which in turn generates allied concepts of flow and resistance.

However, intellectuals also frequently pay less attention to the origin of metaphors in primary experiences which are represented metonymically. These are Crane's "buried links and structures," the contiguities which make both dripping water and a clock "tick tock." Simply comparing and contrasting metaphors leaves untapped the rich understandings figured in metonymic landscapes, understandings that are imperfectly summarized in, and sometimes in conflict with, the metaphors to which they give rise. For example, electric charge fundamentally manifests itself in discrete chunks, so that the metaphor used above, of a "current" representing a continual flow of material, breaks down. When the metaphor is carried beyond its metonymic origins, it risks being misleading.

From another perspective, metaphor marks a potentially unstable moment, one where change is possible. It is a link that is tenuous, an analogy which both gestures towards what is the same, and toward difference. Metaphor works so well because the two terms are both like AND not like; in juxtaposition, they both make a comparison and indicate its limits. As Thomas Pynchon observes in The Crying of Lot 49, "Entropy is a figure of speech . . . a metaphor. . . . The act of metaphor then was a thrust at truth and a lie, depending where you were: inside, safe, or outside, lost" (1996: 77, 95). Interdisciplinary conversations are exercises in explaining to one another the multiple ways in which we are "metaphorizing" our individual metonymic landscapes, seeking and articulating the shape of the paths we take through them and the habits we have formed to traverse them. Even more profoundly, we are learning not only how to illuminate different items in these landscapes, and how to take different routes among them, but--to extend the metaphor we use so frequently here--to consider how we might actually rearrange the territory, to use one another's metaphors to alter our own metonymic landscapes, and vice versa.

Questions about the metonymic grounds of our metaphors are generated particularly in conversations with those who do not share our own presumptions. As Nancy Stepan observes in an essay on "The Role of Analogy in Science,"

elevating hitherto unconsciously held analogies into self-conscious theory. . . extend[s] the meanings attached to the analogies . . . . [and expands] their range via new observations and comparisons . . . . what makes analogy suitable for scientific purposes is its ability to be suggestive of new systems of implications, new hypotheses, and therefore new observations. (1993: 363, 365)

Stepan here uses "analogy" in two senses. She refers first to metonymic, largely unconscious meaning and its evolution into "self-conscious theory" or metaphor. Equally important is the return path she points to, the motivation created by metaphor to make "new observations" which in turn can alter metonymic relationships.

A tendency to neglect the metonymic landscape may well be an unavoidable hazard of disciplinary conversation, where differences among individuals are shielded by the use of a common metaphor, and perhaps by a fixed relation between that metaphor and its metonymic origins. Even in collaborative work across disciplines, exchange occurs primarily in terms of metaphors, often leaving different metonymic understandings unexplored and unaltered. What makes interdisciplinary conversation distinctively different from both disciplinary and cross-disciplinary collaborative work is the exchange it fosters between metaphoric and metonymic constructions.

All intellectual work involves the attempt to explain a wide range of phenomena by naming a model and tracing the attributes that flow from it. One particularly productive way we make sense of the world is by paying attention to dissonances and contradictions, figuring out either how to incorporate them into the structures we have built, or how to build new structures that can accommodate them. For us, the most interesting questions now have to do with how we can accomplish the latter by constructing more far-reaching frames, using new analogies to bootstrap onto others and so activate fresh meanings. Central to this process is the ability to continually extend the frames that are available to us. Metaphors serve this purpose by articulating how to map from one domain to another. They are themselves open to manipulation and therefore extendable. Thus the terms that we use to build from and with are labile. Interdisciplinary conversations prod us to undertake their revision and facilitate the process of consciously breaking out of those frames we know best. And, as in the case of our exploration of metaphor/metonymy itself, such conversations make apparent patterns that transcend disciplines.

Beyond the Intellectual

Recognizing the important interplay between metaphor and metonymy substantially and usefully extends the terrain on which productive explorations can take place. In one of the sessions of "The Culture of Science," entitled "Embodying Our Disciplines," Mark Lord, a colleague in Theater, guided participants in a meditative imagining of our bodies at work. Noting that it would be "less helpful if we tried to steer it," Mark instructed us to "accept what comes," not to censor the associations that arose, to spend some time gathering experiential data before we turned our analytical minds to understanding the ways our disciplines have shaped our sense of physicality.

After the exercise, colleagues told some wonderful stories. Not all of them spoke to a discipline-specific shaping of body sense, but each evoked the learning of skills that enabled us to "sink to the level of what the body knows" and "pull it up immediately when it is needed," despite the fact that most of us felt that our bodies were relatively insignificant in intellectual activity. This contrast was evident in a number of examples: A scientist described "being a monkey," a "little primate," wrapping her feet around a chair in order to launch a sense of herself "into the space" opened by a microscope, "losing a sense of body" as she was transported into the colors she saw there. A humanist described his sense of "being a piece of bubble gum," suddenly blown up, exploding, being lifted out of his chair, along with the computer in which words were combining, carrying him along as he struggled to keep up with the rapid flow. A social scientist described a sense of connection between the screen and the mind: when her head is "in the computer," the "rest of it goes away."

An instructive revision of metaphoric assumptions occurred when we reflected together on these various accounts of bodily experience. The group acknowledged what the exercise was intended to show us, that is, we are all making use of our bodies as we work, differently extending our physical selves into both exterior and interior spaces despite not being explicitly aware of our bodies at the time. When we were most intensely engaged in intellectual labor, as evidenced by our descriptions, we were most embodied, but--and this was key--we felt least so, because we were unconscious of what our bodies were doing during such work. The distinction made by Maurice Merleau-Ponty between the "known" and "lived" body was useful to us here: if we are "living" in our body, perhaps we cannot "know" it. When the "alignment is right" we are less aware of our bodies, so our experience is one of being disembodied.

Further, when our metaphor-generating processes are alerted to the important role our bodies are playing in metonymic processing, we experience dis-ease, being "at odds with ourselves." A sense of discomfort arises when unconscious experience and conscious awareness disagree about what is going on. We ended our discussion not only with the hope of getting beyond the "trap" of having to choose between being "aware" (or not) of our bodies, but also with a further understanding of the value of a more layered description of our experiences, one that combines the metaphoric and the metonymic.

We were led by Mark Lord to acknowledge that intellectuals, who so often think of ourselves as disembodied, actually "relate to our machines in a very embodied way," that this relation reflects the dynamism of the exchange between metaphoric and metonymic processes, and can be more richly exploited than it has hitherto been in the academy. Linda Haviland of the Bryn Mawr Arts Program put it this way: "as a woman and as a dancer in western society I'm keenly aware that I spent a long time being removed as any sort of valid epistemic subject from BOTH [of Snow's two] cultures as defined through most of the modern period." What we have found usefully brought into play by interdisciplinary conversations extends well beyond the commonly defined "disciplines" into a rich terrain of other forms of exploration and understanding.

Synechdoche and Emergence

After several semesters exploring and evolving the usefulness of two terms metaphor and metonym, we added a third literary term to the conceptual repertoire we were using to describe what we are up to: synecdoche, the relation of parts to wholes. (Synecdoche is a part of speech that uses a less inclusive term for a more inclusive one--i.e. "head" for "cattle.") From the perspective of synecdoche, the actions of metaphor and metonymy are not opposed to one another, but rather work together to pull parts out of, and put them back into, wholes that may in turn be altered by the process. They invite us to attend to them, to dwell in them, to make them live. As forms of language that call attention to themselves, metaphors, metonyms and synecdoche estrange us from what we think we know. That's when language is alive, and makes us lively: when it tunnels out of us into others' cells, makes a connection that "shouldn't" connect. That surprises. Delights. And "makes" us think.

This idea of surprise, and the unanticipated understandings toward which it gestures, convinced us that our interdisciplinary discussion groups also function in important ways as "emergent systems." In emergent systems modeling, researchers have shown that complex behaviors may be created from simple agents subject to a few specific rules of interaction. The interest of such systems derives from their unknown potential, from not knowing in advance what they will create, but anticipating that they will be generative if a few fairly simple starting rules are followed.

We realized, in retrospect, that the format we implemented in each of our interdisciplinary groups facilitated emergence. We had a few specific initial conditions for each group. For instance, in our brown bag discussions about "The Culture of Science," we invited both new and more experienced members of the faculty from all divisions of the college, as well as several members of the administration, to speak in an alternating sequence. We met in a divisionally neutral venue and limited each week's conversation to one hour, which had the effect of keeping participants interested and coming back for more. We asked discussion leaders to show the group how their own project was illustrative of a larger whole. All our conversations were summarized on a web page and further discussion was invited in an on-line forum, which served as a resource for new speakers to draw upon. We eventually came to understand that our simple "rule of interaction" in these emergent systems was synecdochal, in a distinctively generative way: that is, the conversation functioned through the interplay of metaphoric and metonymic relations, making new wholes from parts that we disassembled and reassembled. When we achieved this kind of dynamic exchange, the conversations were inclusive, rich and challenging.

The groups evolve in the absence of a leader or architect because of an environment that encourages difference and alteration, as well as continuing individual and communal elaboration. This process requires, of course, the capacity of all participants to conceive of and be willing to articulate their own metaphoric accounts, as well as a willingness to revise both those and the metonymic landscapes from which they arise. Such a process is, by definition and design, unending, because it always generates new synecdochtal relations.

Out of these discussions have emerged new, much-expanded and still-revisable understandings of the nature of the work that engages us all. In an era when no one of us can possibly assimilate all available information even within a single field, the driving force of interdisciplinary work, and of the synecdochtal exchange which it fuels, is that it offers us a means both to survive and flourish: a revisable and sustainable way not just to map a direction through the crowded landscape, but to alter its contours. For starters, it may free us from the idea that we need to know it all, because we have connected with others who know other things, or the same things differently.

New Directions

Interdisciplinary work is indeed play, but play of the most meaningful kind, "not purely entertainment or a luxury to be given up when things get serious . . . not only to be enjoyed but accorded high value" (Grobstein 1994). A commitment to metaphoric/metonymic exchange, to a process of continually testing the value of parts, experimenting with different ways they might be combined to make wholes, and using the resulting wholes to refigure the parts makes the process more than "a little bit transgressive" (Garber 2003); it is also both sustainable and continuously (somewhat unpredictably) productive. Many of us have reacted to what we've been doing together with a sense of pleased surprise. That we have been surprised suggests that collectively generating accounts which are satisfying and productive both for individuals and for groups has been less common in academic life than it should be. We look forward to the emerging time when the pleasure of extended intellectual work is no longer a source of surprise to any of us.

Beyond their service to local professional goals, the lessons we're evolving in our academic working groups might usefully contribute to productive changes in our classrooms, and in the world at large. Catherine Stimpson has challenged academic institutions to find a renewed sense of relevancy to contemporary world conditions: "our survival depends on bringing to bear a multiplicity of perspectives upon life's forces and phenomena, its movements and complexities. Our constructed sense of life must be as rich and thick and hybrid and multiplicitous as life itself." Our claim here that interdisciplinary work is not only pleasurable, but a needed act of engagement, is one response to her call.

Rather than escaping "the mantle of duty," as Marjorie Garber charges in the passage with which this essay begins, interdisciplinary work takes it on directly. There may be no more important activity for us at the present time than to develop among ourselves and with our students the ability to create, critique, and re-create multiplicitous accounts. And no more important role for us in our classrooms than to model for our students not only a willingness but an enjoyment in doing so. Our task is to help "find ways of telling our collective human story from which no one would feel estranged" (see Thoughts and Forum: 11 September 2001 and The Place of the U.S. in the World Community). Such work is critically important not only in our classsrooms but beyond, in addressing our collective need and responsibility to find better ways to conceive of national and world communities and of the relations among them.

We hope we have conveyed in this essay our sense that the movement toward greater "interdisciplinary conversation" in the academy is neither an escape nor a fad but rather a revolution in progress. We hope we have in addition provided some useful guides not only to some of the motivation and directions of that revolution but also to ways it can be facilitated in the context of individual academic institutions. We would not expect that our own experiences would be directly transplantable to other contexts; indeed, it is of the essence of the change that it should and will proceed differently in different contexts. In general, though, we believe the task to be not only worthwhile but readily achievable and satisfying to all involved. Interdisciplinary conversation requires nothing more than that each of us reassert our original interest in "making sense of the world" in whatever ways we can, and willingly share responsibility for that with colleagues desirably following different paths over our common terrain of human experience. The disciplines will remain as an essential part of that activity, but will acquire more meaningful places in relation to one another in what will increasingly be better understood and appreciated as a common enterprise facilitated by more frequent and engaged comparison of the views from different perspectives. To achieve this, we each need to do nothing more than to learn to enjoy and make use of, rather than to be skeptical of and territorial about, the differing perspectives acquired by our fellow explorers following paths different from our own, and to value those we have ourselves acquired in terms of the contributions they make to others.

Works Consulted

Primary are the synecdochtal conversations we have had with Bryn Mawr colleagues, most particularly Ann Dixon, Alison Cook-Sather, Jane Hedley, Michael Krausz, Mark Lord, Katherine Rowe, Jan Trembley and Ted Wong, but including as well all the participants listed on the Serendip sites below. These conversations led us, in turn, to a range of written texts:

Brainard, Jeffrey. 2002. U.S. Agencies Look to Interdisciplinary Science. The Chronicle of Higher Education (June 14).

Connor, W. Robert. 2003. Why We Need Independent Centers for Advanced Study. The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 17).

Crane, Mary Thomas. 2001. Shakespeare's Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Dalke, Anne and Paul Grobstein. 2003. Story-Telling in (At Least) Three Dimensions: An Exploration of Teaching Reading, Writing, and Beyond. Circulating.

Emergent Systems Working Group. 2002-2003. Bryn Mawr College:

Garber, Marjorie. 2003. Groucho Marx and "Coercive Voluntarism" in Academe. The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 10).

Gould, Stephen Jay. 2003. The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox: Mending the Gap Between Science and the Humanities. New York: Harmony.

Grobstein, Paul. 1994. Variability in Brain Function and Behavior. The Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, Vol. 4, edited by V.S. Ramachandran. San Diego, CA: Academic Press: 447-458:

Grobstein, Paul. 2002. The Brain's Images: Co-Constructing Reality and the Self. 11th Annual Usability Professionals Association Conference. Orlando Florida. (July):

Jakobson, Roman. 1975. Two Aspects of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances. Fundamentals of Language. Roman Jakobson and Morris Halle. 1956. Reprint, The Hague: Mouton: 55-82.

Katz, Stanley. 2002.The Pathbreaking, Fractionalized, Uncertain World of Knowledge. The Chronicle of Higher Education (September 20).

Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. 1999. Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books.

Language Working Group. 2002-2003. Bryn Mawr College:

Lord, Mark. 2003. Embodying Our Disciplines. The Culture of Science/The Science of Culture.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1962. Phenomenology of Perception. Trans. Colin Smith. New York: Humanities Press.

Nagel, Thomas. 1986. The View from Nowhere. New York: Oxford University Press.

The Place of the U.S. in the World Community:

Pynchon, Thomas. 1966. The Crying of Lot 49. New York: Bantam.

Reynolds, Teri. 1996. Mystery Science Theater. Lingua Franca 6.5 (July/August): 54-64.

Rhoten, Diana. 2004. "Interdisciplinary Research: Trend or Transition." Items and Issues (Social Sciences Research Council) 5 (1-2): 6-11.

The Science of Culture/The Culture of Science. 2002-2003. Brown Bag Discussions. Bryn Mawr College:

Seyhan, Azade. "Beyond Cultural Studies: Toward a Multilingual Collaboration in the Humanities." ADE Bulletin 136 (Winter 2004): 33-36.

Snow, C.P. 1959. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge: University Press.

Stepan, Nancy Leys. 1993. Race and Gender: the Role of Analogy in Science. The "Racial" Economy of Science: Toward a Democratic Future. Edited by Sandra Harding. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Stimpson, Catharine. 2002. General Education for Graduate Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education. (November 1).

Symposium: The Matter of Time. 2003. Bryn Mawr College (Spring):

Thoughts and Forum. 11 September 2001:

The Two Cultures Working Group. 2001-2003. Bryn Mawr College:

Wong, Ted. 2002. Metaphor, Metonymy and the Two Sciences. The Science of Culture/The Culture of Science:

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