#3 Reflections on Interdisciplinary Social Science History
Maynes, Mary Jo | January 2017
“The Social Science History Association is an interdisciplinary group of scholars …” Thus begins the “About the SSHA” section of the organization’s website. Nevertheless, these two books discussed at recent SSHA meetings are surprisingly critical, if not of interdisciplinarity itself, than of some of the hype about it and some of its more troubling consequences. Moreover, as Graff notes, the two authors “agree fundamentally on the centrality of disciplines.” I found that Jerry Jacobs’s arguments often corresponded with my experiences as a scholar and teacher, in particular a historian, who has operated around and across disciplinary borders even while I treasure my disciplinary and departmental communities. Consistent with Jacobs’ findings, these communities have not felt like silos, even if they do have their peculiarities, and even if border crossings do require excess documentation. Since history journals were not included in the empirical examination of cross-disciplinary citation practices that Jacobs relies upon, I don’t know exactly where history fits in his case for open cross-disciplinary communication, but I am persuaded by his argument that overly generalized criticisms of disciplines as intellectual ‘silos’ is not borne out by his evidence.
CitationMaynes, Mary Jo. 2017. #3 Reflections on Interdisciplinary Social Science History. © Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. http://hdl.handle.net/11540/7374.
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