Problems with Discipline
Deborah Lynn Steinberg
The road to Ithaca is very long
filled with Lestrygonians
and Cyclops 1
As a full-fledged member of the defensive elite 2 of university educators, it can be said that I have 'arrived'; a successful reader, now writer, of maps, a follower of the steps, now dancing master, a colourer within the lines -- now follow those numbers. That I have spent most of my time, both as a student and a teacher within higher education, chafing against its disciplinary rituals and boundaries emerges as an interesting and difficult irony, a paradox as well as a project of memory against forgetting. 3
As a scholar within and teacher of Feminist and Cultural Studies, my perspective on the question of pedagogy is complex. I am preoccupied with the politics of location, the question of migration, and the process of direction. If I may flirt with exile on my own behalf, I am also responsible for the enhancement and protection of the citizenship of my students (and, indeed, of my own). I try not to fool myself about this. Even as I promote the transgression and transformation of disciplinary boundaries, a primary obligation to the rituals and mechanisms through which
The first incarnation of this paper was a talk, by the same title, for a seminar on interdisciplinarity and feminism organised by feminist research students at Birkbeck College.