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The Self of the Scientist, Material for the Artist

Emergent Distinctionsin an Interdisciplinary Collaboration

James Leach

This article analyzes ethnographic material from several art and science research collaborations that were funded under a single funding scheme in the UK between 2003 and 2006. The material illustrates the way that distinctions between aesthetic value and utility value emerged during the interactions of the participants. It outlines how conceptual positions about the contrasting value of art and of science shaped their collaborative practice. I relate key distinctions that emerged in their statements to the parallel division in intellectual property law between copyright and patent. The intention is to show how seemingly natural and given differences that inform both law and disciplinary practice are generated and regenerated in a manner that divides persons, things, and disciplines in the very practices that these categories reciprocally inform and shape.

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A Vision of the Viewer

Situating Narration in the Fiction Film in the Context of Theories of Narrative Comprehension

Joseph P. Magliano and James A. Clinton

Abstract

Contemporary theories of narrative comprehension assume that people build mental models for narrative experiences that are structured around situational relationships such as time, space, and causality. The dominance of this perspective in cognitive psychology arguably emerged in the mid-1990s. Bordwell’s Narration in the Fiction Film is remarkable in how well it dovetails with contemporary theory and the fact that it was written at least ten years before this theoretical perspective became dominant in the psychological literature on narrative comprehension. In this paper, we discuss the relationship and influence of Bordwell’s masterpiece of research focusing on the comprehension of narrative film.

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Brian Callan and Giovanni A. Travaglino

publish interdisciplinary research-based articles from around the world. We begin this editorial by discussing an important contribution to the Letters section from Ithaca's AK Thompson. In a series of ten theses, first presented at the inaugural panel

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‘My Waka Journey’

Introducing a New Co-Editor

Patrick Laviolette

strongly bring to AJEC is an interdisciplinary research profile and an international trajectory. With formative years in Edinburgh and London, I have been exposed to the diverse subfields of human ecology and medical anthropology as well as material

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Riding alone on the elevator

A class experiment in interdisciplinary education

Anna M. Frank, Rebecca Froese, Barbara C. Hof, Maike I. E. Scheffold, Felix Schreyer, Mathias Zeller, and Simone Rödder

The ability to conduct interdisciplinary research is crucial to address complex real-world problems that require the collaboration of different scientific fields. This mode of research in turn requires scholars to use integration as part of

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Donald M. Nonini

Marilyn Strathern, in her collection of essays, Commons and Borderlands (2004: 39–40), reflects on interdisciplinary research collaboration and its products in the contemporary British university setting. She points to two opposed pressures on such research. One, seeking “undivided outcomes,” comes from those engaged in interdisciplinary research who see “an object held in common, the joint product, multi-authored, of diverse efforts.” The other comes from those determined to attribute “ownership” as a matter of “undivided origins” to an individual “owner” of the object—its presumed creator—who can be uniquely identified and appropriately awarded, often with legal intellectual property rights in the form of patents or copyrights. While the perspective of researchers connected to the former impetus is one in which several researchers see themselves as bringing their complementary knowledges to bear in an “orientation to a joint project (‘problem solving’, etc.) [which] takes precedence” (ibid.: 48n4), that of the latter requires that they parse out origins to specify how “collaboration can be unpicked to identify the individual person, or the individual team, with whom the origin rests undivided” (ibid.: 40). Both pressures are, in the case of the British academy, very recent. Calls for interdisciplinary research have been articulated over the same period of the past two decades during which new property claims have been made—by universities, by ‘society’, and by for-profit corporations—on intellectual creations in the university milieu.

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Introduction

Reading Primers and Political Change in European Countries around 1945

Wendelin Sroka and Simona Szakács-Behling

This introduction addresses the origins, general assumptions and intentions of the special issue. The guest editors show how reading primers published and used around the end of the Second World War in several European countries may serve as an object of study in different disciplinary contexts. They present a broad working definition of the reading primer as an educational medium that lends itself to interdisciplinary research which takes into account aspects such as visual and textual content, materiality, and societal contexts of production, distribution and usage. The editors further highlight characteristics of current research into primers and argue in favor of more comparative approaches that reveal transnational dimensions of textbooks designed to teach children how to read and write.

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Jens Jetzkowitz and Jörg Schneider

Recent ecological studies have identified human activity as a relevant dimension of current evolutionary processes. However, most of these studies rely on socioeconomic indicators that consider the impact of activities on ecosystems but have only limited informative value on the effects of concrete patterns of action. This paper focuses on the concept of style as a tool for the study of the interface between society and nature. We exemplify our thesis with reference to changes in plant biodiversity in settlements, and start by summing up the methods and findings of our interdisciplinary research project that aimed to explain the distribution of native and alien plants. Since the findings indicate that styles of living and acting influence plant species composition, we apply the findings of our research strategy beyond the narrow focus of our study. Finally, we comment on methodological implications for the study of the societal aspects of social-ecological systems.

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Aimar Ventsel

This field report summarizes an international interdisciplinary research project in Saidy, Republic of Sakha, in the Russian Far East. The aim of the research was to study ecological adaptations of communities in northern Sakha, combining methods of anthropology, archaeology, and ecology. Most indigenous communities in this region demonstrate a high level of self-organization—for example, forbidding sales of alcohol and transforming drinking to a hidden activity. These communities are actively engaged in the informal economy where officially unemployed people run informal grocery stores, hunting, and transport enterprises. Local practices are a mixture of Evenki and Sakha culture with emphasis on individualism. People in these communities are not nostalgic about Sovietera collective farms—something that is unusual in Siberia—and see current life as better than that in the Soviet era.

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Explorations in Ethnoelephantology

Social, Historical, and Ecological Intersections between Asian Elephants and Humans

Piers Locke

Humans and elephants have lived together and shared space together in diverse ways for millennia. The intersections between these thinking and feeling species have been differently explored, for different reasons, by disciplines across the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Such disciplinary divisions, predicated on oppositions of human-animal and nature-culture, are integral to the configuration of modernist thought. However, posthumanist and biocultural thinking questions the underlying epistemological conventions, thereby opening up interdisciplinary possibilities for human-animal studies. In relation to issues of conflict and coexistence, this article charts the emergence of an interdisciplinary research program and discursive space for human-elephant intersections under the rubric of ethnoelephantology. Recognizing continuities between the sentient and affective lifeworlds of humans and elephants, the mutual entanglements of their social, historical, and ecological relations, and the relevance of combining social and natural science methodologies, the article surveys recent research from anthropology, history, and geography that exemplifies this new approach.