Seminar Disciplinarities

Cluster Connecting

Anthropocene Campus, Illustration: Benedikt Rugar

A Seminar by Mark Lawrence, Bronislaw Szerszynski and Wolfgang Schäffner with Thilo Wiertz

The Anthropocene, with its blurring of distinctions between Earth processes and human history, incites us to learn new habits and practices of knowledge production. It requires us to be ‘multidisciplinary’ and ‘interdisciplinary’ – not to throw out deep disciplinarity, but to capitalize on it better, combining knowledge from diverse disciplines across the natural and social sciences, and the arts and humanities. It requires us also to be ‘transdisciplinary’ and sometimes even ‘undisciplinary’ – to learn how to go beyond traditional disciplinary forms of knowledge production to combine the knowledge base and research capacities of a wide variety of stakeholders. But it also requires us to be reflexive – to be aware of the way that all forms of knowledge production are shaped by historical and social context, by instrumentation and by social practices, and can thereby make certain things visible while hiding others.

This seminar explored these issues through diverse kinds of collaborative activity. We looked at the range of knowledge and knowledge-skills that were brought to the group, and their relevance for the Anthropocene. We looked at what it is to ‘know’ something, individually or collectively, but also how ‘knowing in the Anthropocene’ centrally involves issues of non-knowledge in all its diverse forms, including ‘unknown unknowns’ and the like. We took selected Anthropocene issues and experimented with various forms of knowledge production, transformation, communication and combination. We used the seminar to produce new understandings of what it means to have knowledge in and of the Anthropocene.

Listen to the Resumee Session on the Seminar “Disciplinarities”.

See also the case study on “Disciplinarities” presented during the opening weekend of the Campus by Bronislaw Szerszynski.