Power and Knowledge Constraints of Multidisciplinary Learning: Field School Experiences in Practice

By Conny Davidsen and Chui-Ling Tam.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper is based on lessons from a multidisciplinary learning project in the Amazon, and discusses these within a larger context of multi-level constraints against effective multi- and interdisciplinary learning experiences. These levels are multifold and range from conventional academic compartmentalization, institutional structures in education, adapted compartmentalized learning patterns, competing and disconnected epistemic learning communities, underlying structures of knowledge domains and institutional categorization to dominant world views and paradigmatic assumptions that affect our formalized education with regards to conservation and development. The paper suggests and identifies several resistance levels that discourage, hinder, or even impede, interdisciplinary bridges in our learning and thinking about conservation and development as observed throughout the field school experience.

Keywords: Multidisciplinary Learning, Interdisciplinary Learning, Political Ecology, Conservation, Development, Power and Knowledge, Compartmentalization, Field School

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.119-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 614.554KB).

Dr. Conny Davidsen

Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Conny Davidsen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary. Her research interest is in environmental governance and policy processes, including the roles of learning from policy to media and environmental education. Her work involves environmental policy processes from a political ecology perspective, policy discourses on conservation and sustainable resource management, the local organization of resource use in communities, and most importantly global-local linkages between them. Her regional focus is on Latin America and Canada.

Dr. Chui-Ling Tam

Assistant Professor, Development Studies Program, Faculty of Communication and Culture, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Chui-Ling Tam is an Assistant Professor of Development Studies at the University of Calgary. Her current research and publications focus on the intersection of political ecology, communication geographies, environmental management and participatory development in Southeast Asia. She is also interested in innovative pedagogy, mainly in the form of collaborative, multidisciplinary experiential field schools that engage with environment and development.

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