Course Information

Transdisciplinarity - ComplexThought and Pattern that Connects (TSD 8130)

Term: 2010-11 Spring Semester


Jennifer L. Wells
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Alfonso Montuori
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It is becoming increasingly clear that complex issues often cannot be addressed from the perspective of a single discipline. This course focuses on how research is conducted across disciplines. We will briefly explore the history of disciplines and inter- and transdisciplinarity, and study a number of exemplars that draw from disparate disciplines to assess a variety of possible strategies. Transdisciplinarity will be presented as an approach that is driven by inquiry rather than discipline; is meta-paradigmatic rather than intra-paradigmatic; requires a form of complex thought to organize knowledge in a way that connects and contextualizes, rather than separates and reduces; and acknowledges the central role of the knower in all-knowing. How can we learn to think across disciplines in a way that is inquiry based, when we have been taught to think inside our disciplinary silos? The work of a number of transdisciplinary exemplars will be studied in depth. Topics include how to develop a