By Christelle Klein-Scholz, post-doctoral fellow, LERMA (E.A 853)
Area studies are intrinsically interdisciplinary: ‘[c]ultures, in their ever-shifting interactions and complexities, need to be both researched and taught from interdisciplinary perspectives’. Characterized by hybridity, breadth, general knowledge and synthesis, they aim at ‘interconnect[ing] and transgress[ing] boundaries’ so as to implement a synergistic approach to ‘the growing number of problems “without a discipline”’. ‘Commitment’ can be thought of as one such problem, and the 2015 LERMAsteriales were undoubtedly ‘at the boundary of the individual disciplines’ – literature, history, enunciation, linguistics, translation, photography, art, religion, politics, and language – ‘where they begin to merge and intermingle, clash and jar.’
The concern that comes to mind when dealing with interdisciplinary studies is addressed on the website of the Arts and Science programmes at University College London: ‘If I take an interdisciplinary approach, won’t I just learn a little bit about everything and not much about anything?’; the answer that is provided aims at being both upfront about the issue at hand and reassuring to prospective students: Read more!