Bioethics Blogs

Felicity Callard and Des Fitzgerald’s “Rethinking Interdisciplinarity Across the Social and Neurosciences” by Jörg Niewöhner

Rethinking Interdisciplinarity Across the Social and Neurosciences

by Felicity Callard and Des Fitzgerald

Palgrave (Pivot series), 2015, 160 pages

The first thing you notice when picking up a copy of Rethinking Interdisciplinarity Across the Social and Neurosciences is the almost waxy feel of the cover. I do not have another volume from Palgrave’s Pivot series to hand as I write, so I do not know whether this is particular to this book or not. In any case, as an environmental scientist and anthropologist, the haptics of “rethinking interdisciplinarity” immediately take me back to field notebooks: handy size so it fits into pockets, sturdy cover so you can stuff it into a backpack or box of equipment, and, most importantly of all, water-repellent so you may take notes out in the rain.

And a field notebook is what geographer Felicity Callard and sociologist Des Fitzgerald have written in at least two senses of the word. First, it is a report back from the field. The two have spent many years in the ‘interdisciplinary’ field of social cognitive neuroscience and they share with us their impressions. Second, it is a field notebook that you may take to your own interdisciplinary field, so in moments when you have become thoroughly disoriented, disheartened and generally fed up with academic knowledge production, you may take some solace from this little helper. While the book does contain some ready-to-use bullets for the hurried reader in the form of short notes and queries sections, my distinct impression is that solace will not be given to those trying to use the book like a conversion table from imperial to metric.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.