Interdisciplinary Study, Teaching, and Publishing: Taking a Broad Approach

By David Parker, Publisher and Founder

It is possible I came from the womb as an interdisciplinarian. I carried no specific career ambition with me through my high school, community college, college, or graduate school experiences. My undergraduate degree is in International Studies and my master’s degree is in Latin American Studies. Of course, along the way, I established affinities for a few specific disciplines, economics and anthropology chief among them, but I never aspired to be an economist or an anthropologist.

My interdisciplinary predilection was on display in my first assignment as an acquisition editor: general business. My colleagues in the editorial department were acquiring titles in finance, accounting, marketing, and management, while I focused on introduction to business, international business, and business communication.

I met my Lived Places Publishing co-founder, Chris McAuley, at, appropriately, an interdisciplinary academic conference: the Latin American Studies Association annual conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1998. Chris was a young professor in the interdisciplinary Black Studies department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Interdisciplinary Studies has grown in importance over the past 50 years in response to the increasing awareness that we need centers of study that invoke many disciplines. The growth in centers for research and learning to address specific regions, people groups, oppressed peoples, marginalized peoples, and those without voice has also inspired the ascendancy of Interdisciplinary Studies. And, importantly, Interdisciplinary Studies has been spurred by the recognition that no single academic discipline can capture the totality of social reality. Our lives are always relational, in that we are constantly negotiating a multiplicity of norms and institutions in our daily lives, whether consciously or unconsciously.

We founded Lived Places Publishing to develop course readings that explore the intersection of social identity and location. We know that students appreciate stories and readings that use examples to clarify academic theories and principles. And we know that social identity and social identities can align, converge, mix, mingle, oppose, and contradict the conventions of disciplines. Add to this the importance of places and spaces where our stories and our social identities are lived, and you find the further imperative for an interdisciplinary approach. We also know that voices struggling to be heard often find expression in nascent but emerging fields of study, which are most often interdisciplinary.

I noted at the outset of this post my especial interest in economics and anthropology. These are incredibly important fields of study and, most often, the faculty that lead interdisciplinary programs and centers have their academic foundation in specific disciplines, and particularly in the social sciences. Lived Places Publishing will represent these disciplinary perspectives in our collections as well. For an example of the bringing together of disciplinary and interdisciplinary collections for course readings, take a look at our collections page from the Lived Places Publishing website: https://nova.livedplacespublishing.com/page/collections.

Knowledge grows, fields of study grow, and people and populations in need of a voice, unfortunately, never stop growing either. As our collections grow, be they of a disciplinary or interdisciplinary focus, we will inevitably see the opportunity and need to subdivide and give rise to new collections. For example, Black Studies will almost certainly yield subcollections that fall under the wider umbrella of Black experience, such as Caribbean Studies or African American Studies.

At Lived Places Publishing, the opportunities to produce and promote new collections of study is limitless.


To submit a proposal and pitch to become a Lived Places author, please see our Call for Authors.

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IMAGE CREDIT: cottonbro, used under Pexels Licence

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