Cross-Disciplinary Studies: A Historical Introduction

Boris Buden
Arts and Society, Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
2021W, Lecture and Discussion (VD), 2.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S03563


Cross-Disciplinary Studies: A Historical Introduction I

How is the truth of the world revealed? What does it mean “to know”? What differentiates knowledge from belief and both from an artistic creation? Does knowledge have an end in itself, or rather, it finds its raison d'être in its practical use? Why and how was it divided into various disciplines and does this disciplinary division still make sense today? Finally, is knowledge always objective and neutral, or rather makes itself dependent on particular interests of political power, social class, gender or economic production?  These and similar questions will be asked from historical perspective and put in a broader social and political context. The answers will be given by Plato, Kant and Foucault and discussed with Hannah Arendt, Gayatri Spivak and Donna Haraway—across disciplinary boundaries of philosophy, social theory, historiography, linguistics, psychoanalysis, cultural and post-colonial studies etc.



Plato, The Allegory of the Cave, Republic, VII. (514a, 2 to 517a, 7)

Plato's Allegory of the Cave -- Narrated by Orson Welles

Plato’s Cave Analysis

Immanuel Kant, An Answer to the Question: "What is Enlightenment?"

Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985. (selected excerpt to be uploaded)

Michel Foucault, The Order of Things. An Archeology of the Human Sciences, London, New York: Routledge, 1989.

Jacques Rancière, The Ignorant Schoolmaster Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation, Stanford: Stanford California Press, 1991. Chapter 1, An Intellectual Adventure (1-19)


Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto


Gayatri Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak?


Examination Modalities

Consists in the active participation and contribution (discursive, textual and performative).

The module grading is based on the mentioned contribution, active in-class participation and

  • - submission of written assignments (word minimum of 500 total)
  • - presentation (10 min.) to be held during WS 2021/22.


“Students from other departments or universities will be given a place on the course subject to room capacities.


27 October 2021, 15:30–18:00 CDS Lecture Room
29 October 2021, 13:45–18:00 CDS Lecture Room
12 January 2022, 12:45–18:00 CDS Lecture Room
14 January 2022, 13:45–18:00 CDS Lecture Room

Course Enrolment

From 14 September 2021, 09:02 to 31 October 2021, 23:55
Via online registration

co-registration: possible

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Master): Study Areas: Study Area 4: Philosophy

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Bachelor): Philosophy: Foundation

Individual courses: possible