Integrating the humanities and social sciences

Friday, October 14, 2011

Kel Morin-Parson
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

We are all aware of the problem of “silos”—that is, the tendency, in Western thought and culture in particular, to separate and isolate everything: body from mind, work from play, and, in the case of the academy, disciplines from one another. We know, at some level, that integration has tremendous benefits, but it can be surprisingly hard to put into practice.

This week, Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, writes an interesting article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about higher-ed policy and the people who might most fruitfully be invited to the table when it is discussed. In particular, he reflects upon the complexity around how space is allocated at universities and to whom, arguing that philosophers would be well-equipped partners in policy-making of this kind. More of this sort of attempted integration of the humanities and social sciences into each other, and into the active work of policy, can surely be nothing but beneficial.