Experiments in collaboration: rethinking the human sciences in (or for?) an interdisciplinary age (CfP, Science in Public, Sheffield, 10–12 July 2017)

Des Fitzgerald, Hazel Morrison and Felicity Callard are convening an open panel on “Experiments in Collaboration” for Science in Public, the 11th Annual Science in Public Conference, to be held in Sheffield, 10-12 July 2017. The Call for Papers is below, and the deadline is 18 April 2017. All details about the conference, including instructions for submitting to this panel, are here.

This panel is convened as part of the interdisciplinary project “Wandering Minds: Interdisciplinary Experiments on Self-Generated Thought“, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.

Experiments in collaboration: rethinking the human sciences in (or for?) an interdisciplinary age

Everybody is ‘for’ interdisciplinarity today. From learned academies to higher education bureaucracies, the call is for more collaboration, more integration, more interdisciplinary innovation. Such attention is broadly welcome: today, and even at the risk of grandiosity, we might say that the most potent accounts of human experience (in all their multiplicity) are emerging from new, and ever-precarious, sites of intersection between the social, psychological, and biological scenes. And yet, even as the idea that such work is important become more and more sedimented in the managerial emollient of contemporary HE, there remains startling little analysis of how it is done, or what it is like, or what animates it. And the few accounts that have emerged are not always filled with good cheer (Viseu, 2015; Lyle, 2016).

This open panel asks: how is interdisciplinary work within and around the human sciences actually done? And how might it be done well? What are interdisciplinary sites actually like? Through what studies, methods, and approaches are they now being conjured? We invite papers that approach these questions from any direction. In our own current work (and in our contributions to this stream) we focus on the role of ‘experiment’ (in both its scientific and aesthetic guises) in understanding this space, and on the work of collaboration (as a practice, and, like any intellectual practice, not always an easy one). We are thus especially interested in (but not bound to) papers that centre their analyses around the twin poles of ‘experiment’ and or ‘collaboration’ whether these polyvalent terms are taken as sites of ethnographic attention, as spurs for historical or genealogical investigation, or as any other kind of lure for thinking about how we might re-shape the human sciences today.

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