ERIC Number: ED217492
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Resisting Closure: Integrating the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Dorenkamp, Angela G.
Designing a women's studies course that would be truly interdisciplinary, and not merely multidisciplinary as most such courses usually are, requires an understanding of the fundamental differences between the aims and outlooks of the humanities and the social sciences. The humanities are more concerned with process than product, with judgment more than measurement, and with quality more than quantity. Unlike the methods of the social sciences, which are directed toward finding answers, the methods of the humanities accommodate the tentative and the mysterious. "Misuse" of literature by practitioners of other disciplines as well as their perception that literary studies are "soft learning" also mitigates against successful integration. On the other hand, the teacher of literature must recognize the importance of the insights these disciplines can yield, and must be prepared to sacrifice some process--time for close reading, for example--to product. In mutual compromise, the real question is not who gives up what, but whether the disciplines gain or lose by the creation of what is, in effect, a new paradigm. In the creation of a particular women's studies course, "Images," this new paradigm allowed resistance to the closure of chronological treatment. Interdisciplinary fields such as women's studies can serve as the model for the new paradigm, one which will help reshape both the humanities and the social sciences. (JL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College English Association (13th, Houston, TX, April 15-17, 1982).