Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students

By Robert Eaglestone | Go to book overview

11

Interdisciplinary English
• How is English linked to other disciplines?
• What are the consequences of this?
• English and science: a special case?
• Is English evolving?

English is interwoven with all the other subjects that we study. Just as other subjects cast light on English, English the subject, where we think about how we read, casts light on other subjects.


Diffuse, fuzzy and interwoven

I have argued that the subjects we study at school, college and university are inventions, constructed in certain times and places for certain reasons. Part of the point of this was to show that we ‘make’ knowledge by actively dividing and categorising the world. One effect of this is that every discipline, if you look at it hard enough, is fuzzy at the edges—for example, where does organic chemistry end and biology begin? The divisions are not clear-cut, because the world itself is not made up of clear-cut categories. Another effect is that disciplines are, for the most part, interwoven with each other. To study sociology, for example, you need to know about history, maths, statistics and so on.

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Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - How We Read 5
  • 1 - Where Did English Come From? 7
  • 2 - Doing English Today 19
  • 3 - English and ‘the Right Answer’ 29
  • 4 - Critical Attitudes 39
  • Part II - What We Read 47
  • 5 - Literature, Value and the Canon 49
  • 6 - Doing Shakespeare 61
  • Part III - Reading and Meaning 77
  • 7 - The Author is Dead? 79
  • 8 - Metaphors and Figures of Speech 91
  • Part IV - English Studies…? 101
  • 9 - English, National Identity and Cultural Heritage 103
  • 10 - English, Literature and Politics 113
  • 11 - Interdisciplinary English 121
  • Further Reading 135
  • Index 149
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