[iDC] wrapping up: "new media" education curricula/potentials

saul ostrow sostrow at gate.cia.edu
Tue Jan 30 09:02:42 EST 2007

I find this an interesting and telling interpretation - in that I  
never proposed survival nor implied it - but suggested that our  
understanding of interdisciplinary is misguided in that it leads to a  
notion of hybridity which does not allow us to work with people with  
other disciplinary backgrounds and expertise -- Teaching them to  
navigate an interdisciplinary or a multi-disciplinary environment,  
requires a pedagogical emphasis on abstract thought, self-reflection  
and criticality as well as broad based technical skills and  
experiences to apply these to.  Such problem solving based experience  
at this time is a significant compliment to the fragmented experience  
offered by a skill based disciplinary education. If we circumscribe  
and delimit these by differentiating their history within a given  
media framework it guarantees that such distinctions will impose upon  
them a form which will restrict their use as tools, draining them of  
life and restricting their applicability within other contexts.

Such a course of study, requires the introduction of real-world  
perspectives (rather than merely idealistic, instrumental or  
functionalist ones) on experimentation, integration and the  
application of skills within both a specific genre and without. This  
experience would give students a chance to understand and _call into  
question_ within multiple contexts, and under diverse material  
circumstances the general ecology of their field rather than  
reflecting the pragmatic realities of an assumed fixed subject and  
context.  By learning to deploy skills that are multi-dimensional,  
they will be able to determine what other skills they will need to  
learn. It is extremely important for them to understand the various  
worlds, particularly the ones they want to operate within, so that  
they may not only navigate, but also affect them. Without the  
critical skills necessary to function within the socio-cultural  
environment, it will be hard for them to not only comprehend but also  
apply their skills and concepts to the broader context, which will  
move them beyond disciplinary based activities.

> Saul (1/27):  Reject interdisciplinarity and focus on survival…
> “I think that this whole discussion has to start with us moving  
> away from the
> present notion of hybridity that orders most programs conception of
> interdisciplinary - I do not think we need to teach our students to be
> interdisciplinary as much as we need to teach them to be able to  
> navigate the
> present interdisciplinary environment.”
> Saul, what is “survival” to you?  I wonder if Brian would say it’s  
> that scary
> zombification process.  But I agree, if you subscribe to the
> “interdisciplinary” fan club, there are clear pitfalls.  I suspect  
> that the IDC
> list harbors both pro-interdisciplinary curricula and anti- 
> interdisciplinary
> mindsets.  Anyone wish to comment?

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