Thursday, December 24, 2009

Disciplinary Nodes: A Botanical Metaphor

Disciplinary nodes

Lyn and I picked these buckwheat plants (our name for them is "pod people" -- botanists prefer "eriogonum inflatum," and common names are Desert Trumpet and Indian Pipeweed) on the San Raphael Swell. Besides their simple beauty, they work as a metaphor for me of interdisciplinary work.

The swellings are those biology or music or history emphases, the disciplines where we gain depth of focus and the tools we need to investigate whatever problem or question we're interested in. The stems between the swellings are the connections without which we remain in disciplinary isolation.

And the snowy ground behind them?

I think I'll just let the metaphor rest.

For an interesting look at recent thinking on interdisciplinary studies, see

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