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Which clippings match 'Disciplines' keyword pg.1 of 2
01 JANUARY 2011

New Directions in Interdisciplinarity: Broad, Deep, and Critical

"Before interdisciplinarity in either the disciplinary producing or disciplinary-circumscribing senses could manifest itself, disciplinarity itself had to take on its peculiarly modern form. Any assessment of interdisciplinarity - multi - and trans-, noncritical and critical- will benefit from an appreciation of this background.

Prior to the modern period, learning exhibited a kind of unity that might be called predisciplinary. Aristotle, it is true, introduced distinctions between logic, physics, and ethics, but these were never of a kind to raise the possibility of cross-disciplinary formations such as 'physical ethics.' During the Middle Ages, the division of the artes liberales into grammar, rhetoric, dialectic (the trivium), arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music (the quadrivium) ensured that the education of 'free men' included all the knowledge and skills needed to exercise their social roles. Insofar as it existed, disciplinary specialization was present more in the 'servile arts' of artisans and tradesmen. Not even teachers of the liberal arts became specialists in their different branches, because the idea of, for example, possessing arithmetic without grammar would have been considered a deformation of the mind. In the monastery schools, the unfettered pursuit of knowledge was viewed skeptically, criticized as curiositas, and therefore subject to disciplinization in a premodern behavioral sense. Only at the end of the Middle Ages, as the infinite pursuit of disciplinary knowledge took on the character of a spiritual activity, would Renaissance men become necessary to cross boundaries and synthesize diverse areas of learning."

(Robert Frodeman and Carl Mitcham, 2007, p.508)

[1][2] Frodeman, R. and C. Mitcham (2007). "New Directions in Interdisciplinarity: Broad, Deep, and Critical." Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 27(6).


Aristotlearithmetic • artes liberales • artisanastronomy • cross boundaries • cross-disciplinary • curiositas • dialecticdisciplinary knowledgedisciplinary specialisationdisciplinesdiscursive fielddivisionethicsEuropean Renaissance • free men • geometrygrammarinterdisciplinarityknowledgeknowledge integrationlearningliberal artslogicmiddle agesModern • modern period • monastery schools • multidisciplinaritymusicorderingphysics • predisciplinary • premodernpursuit of knowledgeQuadriviumrhetoricservile artsskillsocial construction of knowledge • social roles • specialisation • spiritual activity • synthesis • tradesmen • transdisciplinarityTrivium • unity


Simon Perkins

The entire notion of school 'subjects' needs to be questioned

"In fact, the entire notion of 'subjects' needs to be questioned, [Sir Ken Robinson] says. 'The idea of separate subjects that have nothing in common offends the principle of dynamism. School systems should base their curriculum not on the idea of separate subjects, but on the much more fertile idea of disciplines ... which makes possible a fluid and dynamic curriculum that is interdisciplinary.'

In December, the Rose review, the biggest inquiry into primary schooling in a generation, also recommended moving away from the idea of subjects. Sir Jim Rose said a 'bloated' curriculum was leaving children with shallow knowledge and understanding. The review proposed half a dozen cross-curricular themes instead: understanding English, communication and languages; mathematical understanding; science and technological understanding; human, social and environmental understanding; understanding physical education and wellbeing; and understanding the arts and design.

Robinson believes the curriculum should be much more personalised. 'Learning happens in the minds and souls, not in the databases of multiple-choice tests.' And why are we so fixated by age groups, he asks. Let a 10-year-old learn with their younger and older peers.

We put too high a premium on knowing the 'single right answer', Robinson claims. But he says he is not in principle opposed to standardised tests, such as Sats. Used in the right way, they can provide essential data to support and improve education. The problem comes when these tests become more than simply a tool of education and turn into the focus of it, he argues."

(Jessica Shepherd, 10 February 2009, The Guardian)




creative thinkingcreativitycreativity in the classroom • cross-curricular themes • cross-disciplinarycurriculumdisciplines • dynamic curriculum • educationeducation reformeducation systemexamsinterdisciplinary • Jim Rose • Ken Robinsonlearningpedagogyperformativitypersonalisationpost-disciplinerisk-takingschoolsstudentteachingUK


Simon Perkins
30 MAY 2010

Enabling entrepreneurial organisational culture within art and design

"Gibbs, Knapper and Piccinin (2009) describe a perceived shift of organisational culture over time from, collegial to bureaucratic to corporate and finally to a fourth entrepreneurial culture characterised ‘by a focus on competence and an orientation to the outside world, involving continuous learning in a turbulent context. The management style involves devolved and dispersed leadership. Decisionmaking is flexible and emphasises accountable, professional expertise. Students are seen as partners.’ (p. 6). UCA is considering whether an entrepreneurial culture is most suited to its ambitions for increased internal and external collaboration and if so the associated consequences for the working relationships between leaders and academics, and the degree of academic autonomy.

If universities were to accept a need to change their cultures and become more entrepreneurial, then it is possible that this might lead to confusion amongst staff as they experience aspects of different types of culture. Gibbs, Knapper and Piccinin (2009) note that this model of four organisational cultures is oversimplified and that is possible for ‘individuals to hold conflicting perceptions of the organisational culture at the same time’ (p. 6). Nevertheless, the model does seem to be useful in helping to reflect on the type of culture that might be desirable for a university offering art and design subjects."

(Paul Coyle, 2010)

Coyle, P. (2010). 'Crossing Boundaries - Creative Spaces'. Cumulus, International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media. Genk, Belgium.


2010 • Association of University Administrators • AUA • boundary • Christopher Knapper • collaborationcollaborative working • Creative Arts Leadership and Management • creative industriesCumulus Associationdisciplines • entrepreneurial culture • Graham Gibbs • higher educationindependent decision-makingindividual initiativeinnovationleadershipmanagementmultidisciplinarynexusorganisational culture • organisational models • partnership • Paul Coyle • public value • Sergio Piccinin • teachingUCAUKUniversity for the Creative Arts • values-driven leadership


Simon Perkins
24 APRIL 2010

Long Live Postdisciplinary Studies!

"Interdisciplinary studies are not enough, for at worst they provide a space in which members of different disciplines can bring their points of view together in order to compete behind a thin disguise of cooperation, so the researchers don't actually escape from their home disciplines - at best they merely offer the prospect of such an escape.

Post-disciplinary studies emerge when scholars forget about disciplines and whether ideas can be identified with any particular one; they identify with learning rather than with disciplines. They follows ideas and connections wherever they lead instead of following them only as far as the border of their discipline. It doesn't mean dilettantism or eclecticism, ending up doing a lot of things badly. It differs from those things precisely because it requires us to follow connections. One can still study a coherent group of phenomena, in fact since one is not dividing it up and selecting out elements appropriate to a particular discipline, it can be more coherent than disciplinary studies.

It's common to say one can only do interdisciplinary studies after one has first got a good grounding in a particular discipline. This is a kind of holding position for conservatives, involving minimal compromise: it also reduces the chances of those who go on to attempt interdisciplinary studies of leaving their discipline."

(Andrew Sayer, 1999)

Fig.1 Diane F. Ramos, 2008. 'Polarican', M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, The George Washington University.

2). Andrew Sayer, 'Long Live Postdisciplinary Studies! Sociology and the curse of disciplinaryparochialism/imperialism', published by the Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YN, UK



1999context • dilettantism • disciplinary imperialism • disciplinary knowledge • disciplinary parochialism • disciplinesdiscursive fieldeclecticismenquiryinterdisciplinarity • interdisciplinary studies • knowledgeLancaster University • post-disciplinary studies • post-disciplinepostdisciplinary • postdisciplinary studies • pursuit of knowledgerelationsilosociologywhole reality


Simon Perkins
29 MARCH 2010

The Free Decimal Correspondence

"The Free Decimal Correspondence, or FDC for short, is a set of decimal numbers ranging from 000 to 999[.9999...], each associated with a particular subject, discipline, or group of subjects and disciplines. It's intended to be reasonably compatible with existing and commonly used library decimal classifications and subject headings, but also as freely usable and adaptable as possible. ...

Many libraries use such a system to arrange their books on a shelf (or their electronic items in a list) in the order given by the decimal numbers, so that they're organized in a general hierarchy with items on similar subjects located near each other. These numbers, when assigned to particular items, are referred to as 'call numbers'. For instance, if you're interested in political science, you could go to the items with call numbers between 310 and 320, and find lots of political science resources on similar topics presented next to each other. And you'll find other social sciences nearby as well.

Decimal systems can also be used to give a language-independent representation of a particular concept. (So, for instance, 'mathematics' in English and 'matematica' in Italian can both be expressed by the FDC decimal code '510'.) You can also use FDC to label sets of items you've associated with particular decimal numbers and ranges. ...

The most commonly used decimal call number system is the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). We’ve tried to make this classification compatible with the present-day Dewey system, so the numbers will in many cases be similar in DDC and FDC for similar subjects."

(John Mark Ockerbloom)



call numbers • categoryclassification • DDC • decimal classification • decimal correspondence • decimal system • Dewey Decimal Classificationdisciplines • FDC • Free Decimal Correspondence • hierarchyindexinformation in contextlibrary • library decimal classification • orderingrelationrepresentationsubjecttaxonomy


Simon Perkins

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