The Cyborg Series aims to create a forum for Notre Dame graduate students to consider the problems and challenges associated with interdisciplinary research across humanities and STEM disciplines. Interdisciplinary research is generally lauded, but the difficulties of doing it well often result in such work being tacitly discouraged. The different goals, methods, and standards of knowledge of the humanities and STEM disciplines create many barriers to strong work at their intersection, and the highly specialized training in most graduate programs makes crossing disciplinary boundaries seem fraught with dangers to the integrity of one’s research. Nonetheless, STEM insights and methods are becoming popular across the humanities, as demonstrated by the rise of the digital humanities, medical humanities, environmental humanities, cognitive humanities, and much more. This series will bring out into open discussion the disincentives to such work as well as the attractions, and honestly interrogate both the intellectual and institutional challenges associated with interdisciplinary research across the STEM/humanities boundary, with the aim of identifying solutions and offering guidance to graduate students embarking on such projects. Through the series, we hope to bring together a community of graduate students and faculty across Notre Dame who are doing, or are interested in doing, excellent interdisciplinary work that successfully navigates such challenges.
The Cyborg Series will consist of four webinar sessions over Spring 2021, each featuring an external guest speaker who is a leader in their particular interdisciplinary field in conversation with a Notre Dame professor. The dialogue will be followed by a Q&A session with participating graduate students and faculty. Each session will be preceded by an online reading group in which students will discuss a seminal text of interdisciplinary research, a sample of scholarship from the upcoming guest speaker, or a work-in-progress by a Notre Dame faculty member.
The Cyborg Series is hosted by the English department, as such the initial run of the series in Spring 2021 will be largely orientated toward humanities students interested in incorporating STEM methodologies or insights into their work. However, given the goals of the series, we very much welcome students from STEM and other disciplines who are interested in issues of interdisciplinarity, and would be delighted if such students would like to join the guest sessions and/or reading group.