Radical Interdisciplinarity

Radical Interdisciplinarity

“A characteristic of thinking that becomes theory is that it offers striking ‘moves’ that people can use in thinking about other topics,” observes Jonathan Culler. He makes this observation in a text about a new type of theoretical writings emerging since roughly the 1960s, writings that succeeded in challenging and reorienting thinking in fields other than those to which they originally belonged. The transpositional capacity of these writings to offer striking ‘moves’ to people working in differing fields of research greatly contributed to the development of new interdisciplinary approaches in the humanities, the outlining of new objects of research, and the formation of new fields of study, like cultural studies, gender studies, visual studies, postcolonial studies. These developments have profoundly changed ways of doing research in the humanities. Reflecting about their potential as well as their theoretical and methodological implications has been at the heart of PhD training offered by ASCA and NICA from the very beginning.

In this course we look at currently emerging interdisciplinary approaches that move beyond the borders of the humanities and investigate how they may challenge and reorient our thinking. How do certain ‘moves’ offered by state-of-the-art scientific approaches lead to radically interdisciplinary endeavors, change our understanding of the object of our research, the relationships between objects and concepts, and what it is that we do when we do theory?

We will start from a discussion of performance and performativity as onto-epistemological condition (Barad) and stratum of power/knowledge (McKenzie). From there we will look at how insights from (among others) quantum physics, enactive and nonconscious cognition, as well as ways of knowing embodied in skilled bodily practice, can be mobilized for new ways of knowing, and new ways of understanding what it means to theorize.

Maaike Bleeker is a professor in the department of Media & Culture Studies at Utrecht University. Her work engages with questions of perception, cognition and agency from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a special interest in embodiment, movement, and technology, and the performativity of meaning making and knowledge transmission. Her monograph Visuality in the Theatre was published by Palgrave. Recent publications include the co-edited volumes Performance and Phenomenology: Traditions and Transformations (Routledge, 2015), Thinking Through theatre and Performance (Bloomsbury 2019), and the edited volume Transmission in Motion. The Technologizing of Dance (Routledge, 2016).

Iris van der Tuin is professor in Theory of Cultural Inquiry and director of the School of Liberal Arts at Utrecht University (The Netherlands). She co-authored New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies (Open Humanities Press, 2012) with Rick Dolphijn, wrote Generational Feminism: New Materialist Introduction to a Generative Approach (Lexington Books, 2015), and edited Nature for Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Gender (Macmillan Reference USA, 2016). Iris was chair of the COST Action New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter comes to Matter’ (2014-18).

This is a NICA core activity. Completing this activity earns you a certificate specifying the number of EC credits at stake. You can have this certificate formally registered at your institution’s administrative office. You may need to acquire the permission of your program coordinator and/or board of examinations in order to participate and earn credits for this activity.

  • Thursday 3 December 2020 10-13h
  • Thursday 17 December 10-13h
  • Thursday 21 January 14-17:30h
  • Thursday 4 February 10-13h
  • Thursday 18 February 10-13h

To register, please send a motivation (1/2 page) why you would like to participate to nica@hum.leidenuniv.nl. If we have too many applications, we will need to select. Be sure to specify your research master program and university. Please be aware that we expect participants to be present at all sessions, do a short presentation and write a paper.