Trans-, inter-, multidisciplinarity: many a word have been called upon to describe the co-existence and co-mingling of different areas of study and various methodologies. Opinions on the matter range equally wide and it is a subject that excites as much as agitates: skeptics find these concepts to be barely more than academic fads at best and ways to dilute one's research at worst while defenders take the practice of disciplinary cross-pollination to be indispensable for producing truly groundbreaking research that can offer a synoptic view of complex phenomena and keep hyperspecialization at bay.
At CEU's Department of Medieval Studies, where the themes of the courses and the interests of students and faculty span the period from late antiquity to the early modern era, and cover vast distances from the north of Europe to the shores of India, disciplinary boundaries are constantly tested and probed. In this roundtable discussion, three MA and two PhD students were invited to reflect on their research in light of these questions, to share their impressions of the department and how their own thinking has been shaped by this diverse intellectual milieu, in which they have had to acquire a literacy with topics and methods of research that are often radically distant from their own and from what they were trained in before joining the CEU community.
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