On February 10, the Initiative for Interdisciplinary Humanities at Bilkent University held its first event, a panel on the topic “Contesting Disciplinary Boundaries in the Humanities and Beyond.” The aim of the initiative is to support collaboration across faculties and departments, with the ultimate goal of establishing a humanities center at Bilkent.
The panel was moderated by Asst. Prof. Colleen Kennedy-Karpat of the Department of Communication and Design. As Dr. Kennedy-Karpat stated in summarizing the proceedings, the panelists “discussed how obstacles to working across disciplinary lines have shaped their academic experiences, and shared insights about how disciplinary boundaries can restrict the kind of work that gets done and garners support in humanities fields.”
The panel speakers were Dr. Mustafa Nakeeb, who is head of the Program in Cultures, Civilization and Ideas (CCI) and also holds an affiliation with the Department of Philosophy; Asst. Prof. Etienne Charrière of the Department of Turkish Literature; and Asst. Prof. Patrick Fessenbecker, also of CCI.
In his presentation, Dr. Nakeeb discussed different disciplines in the humanities and how they can shape similar academic experiences. He noted that when people study Plato, poetry and history are also shaped through the ancient Greek understanding of the separation between these disciplines. The next panelist to speak was Dr. Fessenbecker, who talked about the way boundaries are perceived in philosophy, literature, history, and other fields. The final speaker, Dr. Charrière, shared his experiences regarding the restrictions imposed by disciplinary boundaries and advocated for greater interdisciplinary support in humanities fields.
The interim goal of the Initiative is to support scholarship in the humanities and humanities-adjacent fields by creating more opportunities on campus for networking, collaboration, and discussion among faculty and graduate students in these disciplines. The next phase of the Initiative will be to launch an online directory of affiliated scholars at Bilkent. Anyone who wants to join the Initiative and participate in upcoming events, including the online directory, can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and future updates.
By Başak Bozoğlu (COMD/MA)