Interdisciplinarity has become a buzzword in academia, as research universities funnel their financial resources toward collaborations between faculty in different disciplines. In theory, interdisciplinary collaboration breaks down artificial divisions between different departments, allowing more innovative and sophisticated research to flourish. But does it actually work this way in practice? ISSR Director Laurel Smith-Doerr and Doctoral Candidate in Sociology Timothy Sacco studied four distinctly situated chemistry laboratories to explore how the local contexts of collaboration shape the ideas and practices--the epistemic cultures--of interdisciplinary collaboration.
Their paper, "Epistemic Cultures of Collaboration: Coherence and Ambiguity in Interdisciplinarity," co-authored with Professors Jennifer Croissant (University of Arizona) and Itai Vardi (Boston University), appears in the new edited volume Investigating Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Theory and Practice across Disciplines (Rutgers University Press).