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Interdisciplinary Responses to Complex Problems: Are the Humanities Relevant?
In this talk, I argue that the humanities have a number of key roles to play in research and policy responses to complex problems. The past few decades have seen a growing emphasis on meeting complex problems with complex responses. These are often interdisciplinary responses, since the integrated combination of disciplinary perspectives can add both breadth and depth to our understanding of problems like climate change, food security, hunger, and disease outbreaks. But the players in these responses typically represent the STEM disciplines, as well as policy and implementation – humanists are often ignored.
For many humanists, that isn’t a problem – we are happy to do what we are trained to do, staying locked in on the specific scholarly problems and puzzles that brought us into our careers in the first place.
The humanities have a number of significant roles to play in these responses and should be regarded as key participants. I will describe a number of these roles and detail the role of facilitator in particular, drawing on experiences of the Toolbox Project.
Professor of Philosophy and faculty in AgBioResearch at Michigan State University.