On the value of “studies” and becoming interdisciplinary

Rachel E. Moss

This quick post is inspired by a blog by Margot Finn, and conversation on twitter that resulted from it. Her post is written specifically in the context of Birmingham’s Modern British Studies and is a response to a working paper. However, for this medievalist there was a section that jumped out straight away.

Conventionally, ‘Studies’ movements within the Humanities and Social Sciences are marked by their interdisciplinary formation and remit.  Thus Area Studies, Cultural Studies, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Romantic Studies and Victorian Studies are all nominally (if often, in practice, unequally) conceived as operating across, between or among one or more disciplinary specialisms. …

My point here is not about semantic distinctions, but rather about substantive methodological, analytical and historiographical choices.  Choosing to focus on History as a bounded discipline opens up selected lines of interpretation, and closes down others.  …

What is needed here is not necessarily a…

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