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Institute of Advanced Studies Interdisciplinary Forum: meet the researcher

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A term-long course open to all PhD students that interrogates the practices of interdisciplinary research

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Interdisciplinarity is a current ‘buzz word’ in research practice across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences and many grant-giving institutions have written it in to their requirements. However, the meanings of interdisciplinarity are often unclear and differ from one field to another. In this weekly workshop we will interrogate those meanings and encourage PhD students to think critically and creatively about the relevance of interdisciplinary perspectives for their own fields of research.

Five one-hour sessions will be run in the Spring Term of 2021. Each of these sessions will be built around the work of a high profile UCL researcher who has employed interdisciplinary practices in their work and they will circulate in advance a published paper that exemplifies their approach. Moderated by the Deputy Directors of the IAS (Megan Vaughan and Phiroze Vasunia), each class will provide an opportunity for the students to engage the researcher in a discussion about their work and about interdisciplinarity in their particular field. What is gained (and possibly lost) by approaching a problem through an interdisciplinary perspective? How might conventional disciplines be transformed by these practices, and is this desirable?

All PhD students are welcome, although it will be particularly useful to pre-upgrade candidates who are still defining their research questions and conducting their literature reviews.


  • 24 February 2021, 4-5 pm: Tariq Jazeel, Professor of Geography (please note different time)
  • 3 March 2021, 12.30-1.30 pm: Rachel Bowlby, Professor of Comparative Literature
  • 10 March 2021, 12.30-1.30 pm: John Sabapathy, Associate Professor of Mediaeval History
  • 17 March 2021, 12.30-1.30 pm: Sahra Gibbon, Associate Professor in Anthropology
  • 24 March 2021, 12.30-1.30 pm, Maria Wyke, Professor of Latin

Joining instructions will be posted on this webpage. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need assistance on the day, and follow this FAQ link for more information and to read our virtual events code of conduct.

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