The tough thing about being an interdisciplinary researcher is decided where and when, but most importantly HOW do you intervene.
I think I have been interdisciplinary since birth. Even as a little kid, I was always jumping from one interest to the next - music, math, sports, human rights, journalism, hospitality - sometimes combining more often than not struggling with two many balls in the air and having to watch one (or two) fall . I took a BA in journalism and Latin American Studies and went and studied English at the graduate level despite not having studied literature in English since high school. Journalism became fiction became poetry. An interest in literature has since developed into a dissertation that takes up film, novels, poetry, graffiti, rap, art, theatre, and nonfiction against the backdrop of globalized Labor and mass migration.
So working on the Introduction to my dissertation is especially daunting. I have spent the last few weeks reading voraciously trying to determine where to insert myself in the fields of Latino Studies, American Studies, Chicano Studies, African American Studies, and Hip Hip studies in addition to debates about globalization, transnationalism, postnationalism, diaspora etc etc. Moreover, my dissertation uses methods from not just literary and cultural studies but anthropology and media studies.
It's a delicate dance - which I think I'm ready to start laying down. It's like that moment in life where you stand up for who you are and I'm not planning on apologizing for it either. So I will leave one parting glimpse. Despite reading across all these disciplines were are all still citing the same people by and large - out of date White Men and Judith Butler; out of date White Men and a few postcolonialists Or out of date White Men and Hall, Gilroy, Gates & Anzaldua. Especially in regards to Latino and Chicano Studies, I ask why in almost 2016(!) are we still positioning ourselves against the same white scholars from decades ago? And why, are we still stuck on assimilation?
I for one, will start 2016 on a decidedly different disciplinary note.
You can't read everything!!!! My Latest Library Trip....
Melissa Castillo-Garsow is a Mexican American poet, fiction writer, scholar, hip hop head, former journalist, current essayist & editor working on a lot of cool stuff. She proudly lives in East Harlem. Learn more about her here.