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Sep 01, 2020 Commentary
Disentangling the different layers of interdisciplinarity

by Renate Klaassen

Interdisciplinarity for complex problem solving is a rising phenomenon. Each self-respecting university is trying to realise different programmes and approaches to interdisciplinary teaching and research. The debate on what interdisciplinarity is, how it may work as a substantial part of a university, which barriers are encountered to realising interdisciplinary teaching and research and what the added value is, is addressed in this paper from a social science perspective. Based on the attendance of a conference at the Volkswagenstiftung organised by the Humboldt University of Berlin, different scholarly viewpoints and examples are explored on Interdisciplinary teaching and (researching). Collaborations across the at-times-fragmented subfields of research and education ultimately yield insightful, informative, and even educational experience that creates space for mutual understanding and new ways of thinking about seemingly-established approaches to knowledge-building and communication.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020