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Liam Connell

The concern of this issue on post-colonial interdisciplinarity is with

the apparent need for interdisciplinary approaches in post-colonial

analyses: analyses that take textuality as their object but which are

framed around wider social or political questions of power. By

necessity such analyses take the critic into territories that until the end

of the 1960s were not considered the property of literary studies. Yet,

however necessary this expansion of the critic’s focus has been in

order to allow literary criticism to comment on the social functions of

representation, it has exposed post-colonialism to a range of

criticisms, many of which seem to arise from a perceived weakness in

its interdisciplinary approach. For instance, as the gaze of the critic

has been cast increasingly widely, many conservative commentators

have come to lament the loss of the text. This concern has perhaps

been less hotly contested in Britain than in the U.S., where the socalled

‘Canon Wars’ split departments. Nevertheless it seems

especially problematic for post-colonial studies because even its fairly

modest project of opening up the canon to writers from Africa, Asia,

the Caribbean and the Middle East has been predicated on a

fundamentally political concern with wider forms of inequality, of

which Eurocentric reading practices are only one facet.

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Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill

The six UK Genetics Knowledge Parks (GKPs) were shaped and governed by two frameworks: a 'need' to harness 'new genetics' and the relations of accountability as seen in the context of entrepreneurial government. The remit of the Cambridge GKP (CGKP) was to develop public health genetics by building on the concepts of partnership and interdisciplinarity. In the course of its work, the CGKP emphasized the virtues of 'change management', seen as distinct from, and opposed to, an academic model of knowledge production. However, the model that the CGKP actually created was a research/management hybrid that resisted quality assurance checks developed for each model (research and management), presenting a formidable challenge for the evaluation and assessment of the CGKP's work.

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David Huddart

Questioned by W. J. T. Mitchell on the importance of theory for postcolonial

studies, Homi Bhabha proceeds to distinguish two forms of

interdisciplinarity. The first form is familiar in its emphasis on joint

degrees and teaching in order to widen the teaching or research base,

juxtaposing disciplines which yet maintain their solid foundations. The

second form of interdisciplinarity acknowledges disciplinary limits,

and marks the shaking of apparently solid foundations; Bhabha argues

that it ‘is not an attempt to strengthen one foundation by drawing from

another; it is a reaction to the fact that we are living at the real border

of our own disciplines, where some of the fundamental ideas of our

disciplines are being profoundly shaken. So our interdisciplinary

moment is a move of survival – the formulation of knowledges that

require our disciplinary scholarship and technique but demand that we

abandon disciplinary mastery and surveillance.’2 Elsewhere, in

‘DissemiNation’, Bhabha expands his point to argue for the necessity

of this second form of interdisciplinarity: ‘To enter into the

interdisciplinarity of cultural texts means that we cannot contextualize

the emergent cultural form by locating it in terms of some pre-given

discursive causality or origin.