JUNE 8-9, 2011
Organized by Jan Hein Hoogstad and Murat Aydemir
With Iris van der Tuin and Tim van Imschoot
Some time ago, Roland Barthes argued that interdisciplinarity does not mean combining two or more objects that belong to different disciplines. Rather, it implies constructing an object that yet belongs to no-one. In that sense, interdisciplinarity interrupts the possessive relationship between a knowing discipline and its ignorant other. It forces academic scholarship to lose its old, (overly) familiar objects and start from unknown, forgotten, or emergent ones. These new objects, moreover, do not simply fall in line with established academic disciplines and world views. On the contrary, they offer the opportunity to question and redistribute existing “orders of things.”
The 2011 Inaugural NICA Summer School reflects on the “life” of the object in today’s interdisciplinary and theoretical humanities. If interdisciplinarity not only complements, but also transmutes and undoes established ways of knowing, then it makes sense to ask what objects we have now lost, gained, found, and perhaps even lost again through interdisciplinarity research and teaching. Moreover, Barthes’s view implies that interdisciplinarity cannot become an established method or recipe: as soon as it installs an object that lines up with the others, it inevitably becomes a new form of disciplinarity. So, today, what objects do we forget, foreclose, or preempt? What object do we reify, enshrine, know all too well? And what new objects might we yet create or remember?