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35 Special Forum: Victorian Studies and Interdisciplinarity ciplinarity. Conferences and exchanges in journals such as Victorian Review are available, fortunately, to help us negotiate the limits and possibilities of this new interdisciplinary opportunity. Works Cited Barricelli, Jean-Pierre, and Joseph Gibaldi, eds. Interrelations of Literature. NewYork: MLA, 1982. “Lady’s Pictorial,The.” Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals 1800–1900. . • Interdisciplinary or Merely Undisciplined? TheTeaching/Research Nexus J u dith Johnston • For those who undertake both teaching and research inVictorian studies, the nexus between the two is a dynamic factor that enhances both practices. Teaching and research are inseparable in that research keeps academics in touch with the transformation of ideas and genres both within their own discipline and beyond its borders, enabling them to keep their own teaching up to date. But the reverse is also true.Teaching and eliciting responses to particular texts and ideas can provide new insights and provocatively different ways of thinking about our research.There is no more satisfactory moment in a seminar or tutorial than to realize that you have never viewed a particular text from that perspective before. Overall, then, we need to combine communicative and student-centred models of learning in which critical rigour, self-sufficiency in locating and expressing information, creative problem-solving skills, and diverse cultural awareness predominate. Interdisciplinarity, despite the shades of meaning that might attach to that term (such as might be implied in “cross-disciplinary” or “multi-disciplinary”), when included in this mix, offers university graduates and undergraduates further diversity of approaches and knowledges. Fellow panelists for this Victorian Review forum, Nancy Armstrong and Jenny BourneTaylor,both raise the issue of a“home discipline”(to quoteTaylor)—that is, the assumption that the scholar must have at least one research area that constitutes a fund of knowledge and embraces particular, though often varied, ways of reading.This basic tenet seems to me to be indisputable. However,Victorian studies scholars are fortunate that theirs is a field in which specialist demarcations have always been far less rigid than they are in other disciplines. Indeed, Matthew Rowlinson argues of the scholars involved with the first publishing victorian review • Volume 33 Number 1 36 decade of Victorian Studies (1957–67) that a demonstrable interdisciplinarity was practised then and cites the journal’s first special issue (1959) celebrating the centenary of Darwin’s Origin of Species as an instance (244). Forty years on, Linda Shires makes the point that the field calledVictorian studies“has always been committed to social and cultural approaches” and, furthermore, that “it has been laudably difficult to separate out the historians and sociologists from the literary critics” (481).We have been fortunate that our research area has rarely been nominated“Victorian Literature” even though most people immersed in Victorian studies are probably located in English departments. Nevertheless, it is not so long ago that nineteenth-century travel writing, journalism, sea-side studies, geological studies, scientific studies, botany, law, and so on—those “marginalized genres and discourses” (484) to use Shires’s terms—would never have found their way into a university Victorian studies curriculum, unless they turned up in a specific novel or a poem when their presence might be commented on.Today when we teachVictorian studies, I know that a number of these genres (and others) are now no longer marginalized, having achieved full representation in the various kinds of writing to which undergraduates are introduced, and are certainly fully represented in the critical studies that turn up in publishers’ catalogues, in series often quite simply, even disarmingly, designated “Nineteenth-Century Literature.” But what of the larger interdisciplinary issues?Are we, as Catherine Gallagher has put it, in danger of “too often being interdisciplinary all by ourselves” (254)?And is this necessarily“intrinsically wrong” (254)?While I am reluctant to engage in an argument about what constitutes being truly interdisciplinary (as opposed to, say, multi-disciplinary), I acknowledge that being interdisciplinary “all by ourselves” seems to defeat the purpose, especially if we look beyond being interdisciplinary with our more obvious fellow-disciplines such as history or European studies.What happens if we attempt to cross the greater divide into, for instance, science? Paula Gould, reviewing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 35-38
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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