Interdisciplinarity and Social Justice

Revisioning Academic Accountability

Edited by Joe Parker, Ranu Samantrai, and Mary Romero

Subjects: Social Change, Higher Education, Gender Studies, African American Studies, American Studies
Series: SUNY series, Praxis: Theory in Action
Paperback : 9781438431369, 384 pages, April 2010
Hardcover : 9781438431352, 384 pages, April 2010

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Table of contents

1. Interdisciplinarity and Social Justice: An Introduction
Joe Parker and Ranu Samantrai

I. Critiques of Disciplinarity

2. Metaphors of Globalization
Lisa Lowe 3. Crossing the Immigration and Race Border: A Critical Race Theory Approach to Immigration Studies
Mary Romero
4. Whiteness in a Red Room: Telling Stories and Legal Discourse in the Tribal Courtroom
Raquel Montoya-Lewis

5. An Emergent Extra-Disciplinarity: Worlding Arabs, Activist Representation, and the Example of Ahdaf Soueif
Mrinalini Chakravorty

II. Critiques of Interdisciplinary Fields

6. Cultural Studies: Justice, Values, and Social Class
Patrick Brantlinger

7. The Other Inters: Augmenting Academic Disciplinarity to Make Things (Happen)
Alexandra Juhasz

8. The Ethico-politics of Dedisciplinary Practices
Joe Parker

9. The Limits of Interdisciplinarity: The Case of Chicano Studies
Michael Soldatenko

III. Interdisciplinary Claims to Social Justice

10. Whiteness Studies and the Paradox of Particularity
Robyn Wiegman

11. Interdisciplinarity: A Consideration from African American Studies
Lindon Barrett

12. Imagined Immunities: Border Rhetorics and the Ethos of Sans Frontièrisme
D. Robert DeChaine

13. Toward Collaborative Coalitions: From Internationalism to Interdisciplinarity
Leila Neti

14. Interdisciplinary Investigations and Cross-Sector Interventions
Ellen Messer-Davidow

15. Accounting for Interdisciplinarity
Miranda Joseph

Afterword: Justice Without Truth?
Ranu Samantrai

List of Contributors

Considers the past, present, and future of interdisciplinary fields motivated by concerns for social justice.


In the 1960s and 1970s, activists who focused on the academy as a key site for fostering social change began by querying the assumptions of the traditional disciplines and transforming their curricula, putting into place women's and ethnic studies programs that changed both the subject and methods of scholarship. The pattern of scholars and activists joining forces to open fields of research and teaching continued in subsequent decades, and recent additions, including critical race studies, queer studies, cultural studies, and postcolonial studies, take as their epistemological foundation the inherently political nature of all knowledge production. Interdisciplinarity and Social Justice seizes this opportune moment in the history of interdisciplinary fields to review their effects on our intellectual and political landscape, to evaluate their ability to deliver promised social benefits, and to consider their futures. The essays collected in this volume detail histories of the interdisciplinary fields that emerged from social movements, examine how effectively they have achieved their goals of intellectual and social change, and consider the challenges they now face inside and outside the academy.

Joe Parker is Associate Professor of International and Intercultural Studies at Pitzer College. He is the author of Zen Buddhist Landscape Arts of Early Muromachi Japan (1336–1573), also published by SUNY Press. Ranu Samantrai is Associate Professor of English at Indiana University at Bloomington. She is the author of AlterNatives: Black Feminism in the Postimperial Nation. Mary Romero is Professor of Justice Studies at Arizona State University. She is the author of Maid in the U. S.A. and the editor of several books, including (with Eric Margolis) The Blackwell Companion to Social Inequalities.