On the subject of interdisciplinarity, this is the prologue from my MArch thesis a few years ago:
an architecture-and essay: conjunction of generalities. Here, architecture-and-archaeology.
The presumption of the innocuous ‘and’, with its two little hyphens (present as above, or implied) is interchangability. -and- is the joint of a modular system in which an endless series of substitutions could be made: architecture-and-text; architecture-and-politics; architecture-and-film; architecture-and-literature. To articulate a discussion jointed in this way would already be to assume the distinctiveness of the two terms: that architecture is a something; that archaeology is a different something; and that some conjunction can reasonably be expected. The agenda for an architecture-and-archaeology essay would apparently be to briefly outline some common ground, and to conclude with propositions for how architecture might profit from this exchange. Architecture-and-archaeology would be a foray into a foreign territory, followed by an about-face, and a return home bearing exotic goods. This thesis will, among other things, demonstrate why this conjunction cannot simply be performed. The disciplines of architecture and archaeology will be challenged as to their integrity; the extent to which they are distinct enterprises; and the validity of the generality implied by naming them as terms of an equation. As the distinctiveness of the terms breaks down, the problem will become one of description.
In particular, the -and- is often used to invoke interdisciplinarity: lines of communication are established between departments and disciplines, in order to bring under examination the various spaces which have, for one reason or another, slipped between departments. In this case the hyphens would mark the path of the interdisciplinary writer pacing back and forth between departmental libraries. This essay is not interdisciplinary (although this statement might be taken as one of the best pieces of evidence that it is in fact so). This essay will attempt to question, from the very cut of the spade, the divisibility of archaeology and architecture. Interdisciplinarity breaks down when there is no longer an interstitial space to occupy, and when it is precisely disciplinary distinctiveness that is under close examination. Standing on a bridge is difficult place to argue against the integrity of riverbanks.