Being involved in interdisciplinary work is the sort of thing that has become this generation of students’ claim to fame. This isn’t a surprise to some disciplines. Anybody taking a History course will find it very natural to simultaneously be considering sociological or political aspects. For other disciplines, it’s a bit harder. Descriptive Biology being rejected in favor of something that is more mathematically heavy, for instance, takes a bit more getting used to.
Of course, no discipline goes by unscathed. An article in The New York Times last week summarized numerous efforts in the Humanities to incorporate technological developments. Some of the most exciting involve mapping cities and towns to reconstruct history and note how terrain may have affected events, constructing databases for archaeological sites so researchers can search for monuments and sites in many countries, creating 3D models and maps from information based on primary sources as teaching aids, and even using databases of studio recordings to study the development of jazz music.
It would be a shame if such advances were contained in the Western world. We at LUMS should welcome interdisciplinary changes if only to keep apace, and recognize that losing what we so dearly love about our major might not be the worst thing. Besides, imagine how exciting the study of World War II could be with 3D reconstructions of battlegrounds instead of dry, witless textual descriptions, how entertaining Literature could be through a visual representation of the spread of Romanticism through books, letters and memos through countries instead of just a bunch of other ‘-isms’ being thrown about. After all, if all this makes the studying job easier, nobody should really have much to complain about.