This contribution to the Einstein Forum draws lessons from efforts to bridge humanities and other knowledge cultures in three enclaves: Digital Humanities, the Art-Science movement, and the EU-funded SHAPE-ID project aimed at bridging arts, humanities, and social sciences with disciplines of science, technology, mathematics, and medicine. Comparison of the three examples builds on Barry & Born’s three logics of interdisciplinarity in subordination-service, integrative-synthesis, and agonistic-antagonistic forms. Digital Humanities spans methodological and theoretical constructions of the relationship of humanities and technology, with differing assessments of whether their relationship is tool-based or critique and transforms the existing structure of knowledge and education. The Art-Science movement, in turn, ranges from aesthetic promotion of science to new digital-born genres and artistic installations in the academy, culture industry, and communities that go beyond decorative uses of arts and humanities to produce rich new interlanguages. For its part, the SHAPE-ID project is situated against the backdrop of increased calls for marshaling inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches to address complex societal problems, moving beyond reductionist invocation of culture and history to their centrality to understanding the nature of the problems and arriving at socially robust solutions with multiple stakeholders. In the aggregate insights from the three examples furnish insights into the boundary work of relations across disciplines, fields, professions, and sectors beyond the academy including government, industry, and communities
Julie Thompson Klein is Professor of Humanities Emerita in the English Department at Wayne State University in Michigan (USA) and an International Research Affiliate of the Transdisciplinarity Lab at the ETH Zurich (Switzerland). Holder of a Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon, Klein is past president of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies and former editor of its journal. Klein’s honors include the Kenneth Boulding Award for outstanding scholarship on interdisciplinarity and the Science of Team Science Recognition Award. She has delivered keynote addresses throughout North and South America, Europe, Russia, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. And, she has been Visiting Foreign Professor at Shimane University (Japan), a Fulbright Lecturer at Tribhuvan University (Nepal), a Foundation Visitor at the University of Auckland (New Zealand), a distinguished scholar in residence at the University of Victoria (Canada), and a Visiting Professor and Mellon Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Michigan (USA).
Her authored books include Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory, and Practice (1990), Crossing Boundaries: Knowledge, Disciplinarities, and Interdisciplinarities (1996), Humanities, Culture, and Interdisciplinarity (2005), Interdisciplining Digital Humanities (2015), Creating Interdisciplinary Campus Cultures (2010), and Beyond Interdisciplinarity: Boundary Work, Communication, and Collaboration (2021). She also co-edited Interdisciplinary Studies Today (1994), Transdisciplinarity: Joint Problem Solving among Science, Technology, and Society (2001), Interdisciplinary Education in K-12 and College (2002), and The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity (2010, 2017).