The Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies is comprised of seminars in the following areas:
- Interdisciplinary Foundational Themes (12 credit hours, 4 seminars)
- Core knowledge in a Primary area of concentration (6 credit hours, 2 seminars)
- Advanced knowledge in a Primary area of concentration (12 credit hours, 4 seminars)
- Research Methodology (6 credit hours, 2 seminars)
- Academic Critical Writing and Thinking Skills ( 9 credit hours, 3 seminars)
- Electives (9 credit hours, 3 seminars)
- Individualized Studies (6 credit hours, 2 seminars)
Foundational Themes of the cohort Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies
Study related to the three areas of concentration is undertaken within the context of and pursued with deliberate, sustained attention to the three themes that are central to the University's and Doctor of Philosophy program's intellectual and social commitments. These themes are:
Attentiveness to Social Justice
Social justice is a matter of trying to ensure that each person and group receives their proper due from the storehouse of primary and secondary goods that are available, at any given time, within the context of social and political life. Primary goals of the doctoral program are: (1) to explore alternative theories’ conceptions of the proper distribution of a society’s resources; (2) to examine the implications of alternative systems of social exchange (market systems, moral systems, organizational systems) for realizing the alternative ideals associated with social justice; and (3) to examine the importance of attending to social justice within the framework of present and future historical circumstances. A concern for the goal of social justice is incorporated into the program of study for each of the doctoral program’s three areas of concentration.
Exploration and Advancement of Creativity
At an earlier if indefinite time, our present ideas and knowledge, the ordering of our institutions, the ideals we believe in, the activities we daily engage in and that give our lives shape and meaning (as hope and fear, as calm or anxiety, as sadness or happiness or desperation) simply did not exist. In complex and poorly understood ways, they were created from human inventiveness and imagination. Individuals, often by themselves but sometimes in concert with others, moved beyond inherited ways of thinking, of believing, of finding meaning and giving meaning to their lives. Beginning with what they knew and believed and with familiar artifacts and icons, they tinkered with, disassembled and reassembled, held up and turned over in their hands and minds familiar ways of thinking and acting. They experimented with various means of human exploration and expression (diction, metaphor, rhythm, story telling, performance, image) to reach out to various (im)possibilities. In doing so, they recast the familiar, searched about in the unfamiliar, and through an engagement of the barely perceptible or unknown or with the clear and familiar, they discerned/invented unexpected and previously unknown of apprehending and understanding the human condition.
The development of and experimentation with strategies designed to open up and move beyond present understanding through the creative process of engaging the familiar with the unknown is an additional goal of the doctoral program. The program is designed to produce scholars who, in addition to their scholarship, will have acquired knowledge of and facility with the creative process. In this way, an important goal of the doctoral program is for students to become creative in matters of scholarship in their areas of concentration, in addressing issues of social justice and problems of difference, and in their approaches to questions of praxis related to their individual professional and academic goals.
Engagement of Difference
Related to the concern for social justice, an additional goal of the doctoral program is for students to acquire advanced understanding of the complex issues (historical, sociological, psychological, political, philosophical and ethical) related to the presence of difference among individuals and a complex array of alternative identities and social groups. Grounded in studies within the humanities and social sciences, a related and equally important goal associated with the study of difference is to explore the various possibilities for engaging and addressing difference. The issues and possibilities explored include assimilation, mutual understanding, dissent and resistance, tolerance and accommodation, mutual respect, separatism, opposition, cooperation, discursive communication, negotiation and compromise, conflict, matters of translation and possible reconcilability or irreconcilability, synthesis and transformation.
Students are encouraged to consciously transgress some of the disciplinary boundaries that, for better or worse, structure both our thinking and actions. Students take up this challenge by immersing themselves in the current debates surrounding interdisciplinary - its theories and practices, its promises and potential shortcomings-so as to arrive at a working definition of interdisciplinary research as it pertains to their own specific scholarly interests and projects.
Specific Curriculum for each Area of Concentration
For details regarding the curriculum for each Area of Concentration, please see the Program Overview.