Transdisciplinarity: Complex Thought and the Pattern That Connects

School of Consciousness and Transformation TSD 8130 3.00

It is becoming increasingly clear that complex issues often cannot be addressed from the perspective of a single discipline. This course focuses on how research is conducted across disciplines. We will briefly explore the history of disciplines and inter- and transdisciplinarity, and study a number of exemplars that draw from disparate disciplines to assess a variety of possible strategies. Transdisciplinarity will be presented as an approach that is driven by inquiry rather than discipline; is meta-paradigmatic rather than intra-paradigmatic; requires a form of complex thought to organize knowledge in a way that connects and contextualizes, rather than separates and reduces; and acknowledges the central role of the knower in all-knowing. How can we learn to think across disciplines in a way that is inquiry based, when we have been taught to think inside our disciplinary silos? The work of a number of transdisciplinary exemplars will be studied in depth. Topics include how to develop a knowledge base in a multidisciplinary approach; how to research, review, and integrate perspectives from different sources relevant for the student's research topic; how to develop a solid understanding of the dominant discourse(s) in one's area of inquiry and address its limitations; and how to develop a theoretical framework for inquiry. The course will also cover how to integrate the knower in the known - how to reflect on how who we are and our values, assumptions, and blind spots play a role in our inquiry. Students will be able to ground all the work in this class in their chosen areas of inquiry. TSD 8005; TSD 8125

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