The rationale for interdisciplinary study and some of the unique challenges its continued evolution faces in the twenty-first century are investigated in this paper drawing from a critical assessment of an existing Canadian interdisciplinary and interuniversity program in practice. We trace a sharp disjuncture between the primary ideological commitment in Women’s Studies programs to activist-based interdisciplinary work and the uncritical progress narrative that characterizes the current university climate. Intended as a means by which mainstream inquiry and knowledge might be challenged and transformed, Women’s Studies programs in Canada currently face “improvement” in the form of adding Gender to their titles. This paper argues that rather than solving the theoretical and epistemological concerns emanating from Women’s Studies scholarship, the synthesis of gender with women both undermines the social justice orientation of Women’s Studies programs and suppresses efforts to expand the epistemological potential of the program through increased interdisciplinarity.
|Keywords:||Intellectual Holism, Critical Program Assessment, Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, Discipline Legitimacy, Marginalization, Progress Narrative, Identity Politics|
Associate Professor, Sociology and Criminology Department, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology and Department of Women's Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminology, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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