‘Interdisciplinary’: it is one of those rare words in the English language to have seven syllables and a capacity for tripping up speech in the midst of a quickly spoken sentence. Do we have a strange kind of mimesis here, so that the very sound and sequence of the syllables anticipate the complexity of the concept they formulate? What is it that we do, at ISI, and what is it about the word 'interdisciplinary' that seems to define us—yet in some ways seems so indefinable?
This spring we inaugurate a new Forum section on the ISI website for blogs, musings, and thought pieces of all kinds. Read on for ISI Director Stephen Clingman's take on the meaning of engaging in interdisciplinary work.