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The Reorder of ThingsThe University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference$
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Roderick A. Ferguson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816672783

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816672783.001.0001

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The Birth of the Interdisciplines

The Birth of the Interdisciplines

(p.19) One The Birth of the Interdisciplines
The Reorder of Things

Roderick A. Ferguson

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter discusses the origins of interdisciplinary studies vis-à-vis colonial and neocolonial narratives. In order to define and defend the minority espoused by the interdisciplines, it is important to analyze the evolving definition of “human beings” and human sciences throughout the centuries, beginning with the nineteenth century. The literature of the time defined Man as the standard—a position that would eventually be displaced by studies of race, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity. The interdisciplinary studies came about as a new mode of power—engaging in particular that of the institutions and their archives, upon which community is homogenized by a collection of common knowledge. The institutionalization of minority differences, however, does not so much empower as it does reconfigure previous modes of power in the form of neocolonialism. Far from effecting radical change, institutionalization creates new divisions of power rather than abolishes them entirely.

Keywords:   interdisciplines, neocolonialism, archives, institutionalization, minority differences, human sciences, nineteenth century

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