Publication Date

January 2013


In recent years, I have been drawn to inter-disciplinary approaches to scholarship. Specifically, I have been attracted to “mind studies”—an alluring amalgam of Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Social Psychology, and Anthropology—as offering more satisfying explanations of human action. In this paper I want to explore more deeply and expound further upon the benefits of multi-disciplinary research. To do so, I’ve invited colleagues of mine who work in other disciplines to view an ethnographic film about a poor Appalachian family and to identify specific issues in it that they would develop further in their classes. My working assumption is that there will be significant variations in what each of us highlights due to differences in the ways we were trained, and that much can be gained pedagogically in assessing the results. In bringing to light some of the limitations of academic overspecialization, the paper hopes to encourage all scholars to venture across disciplinary boundaries more often.