Interdisciplinarity in teaching: probing urban studies
Chettiparamb, A. (2011) Interdisciplinarity in teaching: probing urban studies. Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 6 (1). pp. 68-90. ISSN 1747-4205
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This article arises from a research project funded by the Subject Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics and a literature review on ‘interdisciplinarity’ commissioned by the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (Chettiparamb, 2007). It attempts to unpack how disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity are created through pedagogy in higher education at the module level while teaching an interdisciplinary subject such as ‘urban studies’. In particular, comparisons are made between the teaching aims and methods in two disciplines: planning and sociology. Comparisons are also made between the approach of two types of universities – a pre-1992 university and a post-1992 university. The article argues that the differences between the universities are more profound than the differences between the disciplines. The research reveals two key findings. In the pre-1992 university case study, even though the ‘contributing’ subject domains of the disciplines are similar, the disciplinary identities are maintained and accomplished in subtle ways. In contrast, in the post-1992 university, disciplinary boundaries are not so purposefully maintained, resulting in the realisation of a different construction of interdisciplinarity.