Friday, April 16, 2010

Alan Clarke on Interdisciplinary Work

Although he claims to be a Luddite and thus unwilling/unable to post to our blog (not to mention Wikkipedia), Alan Clarke has written the following as part of a book proposal he is sending around to prospective publishers.

I post it on his behalf.

This Proposal Adopts a Broad Interdisciplinary Perspective Which Should Attract Interest in the United States and in Europe and Canada

The most multi-disciplinary works on torture or rendition, of which I am aware, are found within edited anthologies. These necessarily present an eclectic range of disciplinary understandings, differing from author to author, and essay to essay. A given essay in an anthology (on torture or anything else) ordinarily uses the methods and understandings of a single discipline. True interdisciplinarity – the integration of a variety of disciplinary perspectives in a single coherent analysis remains rare. Edited volumes are, therefore, more appropriately seen as multidisciplinary rather than interdisciplinary. Their strength revolves around the many perspectives that they bring to bear on a problem; their weakness is in failing to integrate the differing analyses in a sustained critique of the problem at hand.

Examples of edited anthologies focusing on torture include:

The Phenomenon of Torture: Readings and Commentary, (William F. Schulz ed., 2007);

The Torture Debate in America 151, 154 (Karen J. Greenberg ed., 2006).

On Torture, (Hilde, Thomas C., ed., 2008);

Torture, A Collection (Sanford Levinson ed., 2004);

America’s Disappeared, (Meeropol, Rachael, ed., Seven Stories Press, 2005).

The strength of this proposal is that it integrates differing perspectives as it examines the complex problem of torture. A full understanding of the phenomenon of torture resists narrowly focused disciplinary analyses and is most usefully considered by employing findings of history, law, psychology, sociology, politics and philosophy. This book proposal aims to do just that. Because both Canada and many European nations were complicit in the U.S. use of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and rendition, this comprehensive and interdisciplinary treatment of the subject should attract a transnational audience.

No comments:

Post a Comment