This collection of resources has come into being through the generosity and knowledge-sharing of many. During various interviews, conversations and events we organised, people referenced texts, websites, inspirational practices and models of transdisciplinary education. Some even shared their growing bibliographies with us. We thank everyone who added to this evolving list of resources. Every contribution has helped expand and refine our thinking.
This selection is far from comprehensive; it is a work in progress. Also, within transdisciplinary work, it is crucial to acknowledge infinite cross-overs and the profoundly porous borders between practice and theory and formal and informal education. There is also a fluidity between inter-, multiple-, intra-, cross- and trans-disciplinary work. With these fruitful ambiguities in mind, for simple ease of navigation, we have organised the references into three categories: Reading, Education & Practice.
Bergmann, M., Jahn, T., Knobloch, T., Krohn, W., Pohl, C., & Schramm, E. (2012). Methods for Transdisciplinary Research: A primer for practice. Campus.
In this book the authors systematically describe scholarly methods for the task of knowledge integration in transdisciplinary research and provide examples from research practice. This book supports scholars in the conceptualization and execution of transdisciplinary research projects and is of high relevance for teaching.
Bhambra, G. K., Gebrial, D., & Nişancıoğlu, K. (2018). Decolonising the University. Pluto Press.
Offering resources for students and academics to challenge and resist coloniality inside and outside the classroom, Decolonising the University provides the tools for radical pedagogical, disciplinary and institutional change. This book is available to download for free at https://www.plutobooks.com/open-access-ebooks/
Brown, V. A., Harris, J. A., & Russell, J. Y. (2010). Tackling Wicked Problems. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781849776530
This book offers a transdisciplinary, open approach for those working towards resolving ‘wicked’ problems and highlights the crucial role of this ‘transdisciplinary imagination’ in addressing the shift to sustainable futures. Tackling Wicked Problems provides readers with a framework and practical examples that will guide the design and conduct of their own open-ended enquiries.
Clarke, B. (2020). Gaian systems: Lynn Margulis, neocybernetics, and the end of the anthropocene. In Posthumanities. Minnesota Press.
A groundbreaking look at Gaia theory’s intersections with neocybernetic systems theory.
Fam, D., Neuhauser, L., & Gibbs, P. (2018). Transdisciplinary theory, practice and education: The art of collaborative research and collective learning. Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93743-4/COVER
This exciting new state-of-the art book reviews, explores and advocates ways in which collaborative research endeavours can, through a transdisciplinary lens, enhance student, academic and social experiences. Drawing from a wide range of knowledges, contexts, geographical locations and internationally renowned expertise, the book provides a unique look into the world of transdisciplinary thinking, collaborative learning and action. In doing so, the book is action orientated, reflective, theoretical and intriguing and provides a place for all of these to meet and mingle in the spirit of curiosity and imagination.
Halberstam, J. (2011). The queer art of failure. Duke University Press.
The Queer Art of Failure is about finding alternatives to conventional understandings of success in a heteronormative, capitalist society; to academic disciplines that confirm what is already known according to approved methods of knowing; and to cultural criticism that claims to break new ground but cleaves to conventional archives.
Latour, B., & Porter, C. (1996). We have never been modern. Harvard University Press.
With the rise of science, moderns believe, the world changed irrevocably separating us forever from our primitive, premodern ancestors. But if we were to let go of this conviction, Bruno Latour asks, what would the world look like? This book offers a new explanation of science that finally recognizes the connections between nature and culture–and so, between our culture and others, past and present. Crisis – Constitution – Revolution – Relativism – Redistribution.
Leavy, P. (2011). Essentials of Transdisciplinary Research Using Problem-Centered Methodologies. Routledge.
In this brief, informative guide, Patricia Leavy shows how a transdisciplinary approach can produce more effective results for researchers hoping to ameliorate social problems and foster social justice. Leavy demonstrates the value of transdisciplinary approaches in mixed methods design, and how trans approaches actually help fulfill the promises and goals of mixed methods research.
Nicolescu, B. (2002). Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity. State University of New York Press.
In this manifesto for the twenty-first century, Basarab Nicolescu, a Romanian quantum physicist, uses the unification of the scientific culture and the sacred as his axis to address the problem of fragmentation which plagues contemporary life. Nicolescu identifies the dangers of self-destruction caused by modernity and increased use of technology and offers alternative ways to address them – a transdisciplinary approach that propels us beyond the either/or thinking that gave rise to the antagonisms that initially produced the problems.
Nicolescu, B., & Ertas, A. (Eds.). (2013). Transdisciplinary Theory & Practice. Atlas. https://doi.org/10.22545/2021b/b8
This journal volume contains eleven papers. A wide variety of issues related to the transdisciplinarity such as education, complexity, experimentation, theology, epistemological awareness, mechatronic platforms and transdisciplinarity learning have been covered in this volume.
Segato, R. L., & McGlazer, R. (2022). The critique of coloniality: Eight essays. Taylor and Francis. https://www.routledge.com/The-Critique-of-Coloniality-Eight-Essays/Segato/p/book/9780367759827
This translation of Rita Segato’s seminal book La crítica de la colonialidad en ocho ensayos offers an anthropological and critical perspective on the coloniality of power as formulated by the Peruvian thinker Anibal Quijano. Segato begins with an overview of Quijano’s conceptual framework, emphasizing the power and richness of his theory and its relevance to a range of fields. Each of the seven subsequent chapters present scenarios in which a persistent colonial structure or form of subjectivity can be identified. These essays address urgent issues of gender, sexuality, race and racism, and indigenous forms of life.
Stengers, Isabelle. (2010). Cosmopolitics. University of Minnesota Press.
In this remarkable book, Isabelle Stengers extracts from the traditional word cosmopolitism its two constituents, the cosmos and its politics; she argues that a politics that will not be attached to a cosmos is moot, and that a cosmos detached from politics is irrelevant. It is the great originality of the book to renew our definition of what it is `to belong’ or `to pertain’ to the world by diving deep into the sciences in order to extract their hidden cosmopolitics. Cosmopolitics will be of immense interest for practicing scientists as well as for activists and concerned citizens.”–Bruno Latour.
Book chapters, journal articles, and conference proceedings:
Augsburg, T. (2014). Becoming transdisciplinary: The emergence of the transdisciplinary individual. World Futures, 70(3–4), 233–247.
This article develops the idea of becoming a transdisciplinary individual, and begins by tracing the origins and contemporary currents of transdisciplinarity (from 1972 to present day). Using Nicolescu’s earlier concept of a transdisciplinary attitude as an intellectual springboard, this article explores the traits of individuals involved in transdisciplinary projects.
Bernstein, J. (2014). Disciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity in the Study of Knowledge. Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, 17, 241–273. https://doi.org/10.28945/2047
In the mid to late twentieth century, library science educator Jesse Shera sought to bridge the conceptual gap between epistemological and sociological approaches to knowledge in proposing a new discipline he called social epistemology. Around the same time, long-term projects by the economist Fritz Machlup and the physical chemist turned philosopher of science Michael Polanyi transcended conventional frame-works for conceptualizing knowledge. These scholars can be viewed in retrospect as bringing to the study of knowledge the germs of a transdisciplinary approach.
Bernstein, J. (2015). Transdisciplinarity: A Review of Its Origins, Development, and Current Issues Anthropology and knowledge organization: Affinities and Prospects for Engagement View project. Journal of Research Practice, 11(1), 1–20.
Transdisciplinarity today is characterized by its focus on “wicked problems” that need creative solutions, its reliance on stakeholder involvement, and engaged, socially responsible science. In simultaneously studying multiple levels of, and angles on, reality, transdisciplinary work provides an intriguing potential to invigorate scholarly and scientific inquiry both in and outside the academy.
Brandt, P., Ernst, A., Gralla, F., Luederitz, C., Lang, D. J., Newig, J., Reinert, F., Abson, D. J., & Von Wehrden, H. (2013). A review of transdisciplinary research in sustainability science. Ecological Economics, 92, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.04.008
The authors assess the growth and scientific impact of transdisciplinary sustainability research, the methods used and how three key characteristics of transdisciplinarity research-process phases, knowledge types and the intensity of involvement of practitioners-are implemented. While transdisciplinary research is growing there is no common glossary, no focused communication platform and no commonly shared research framework. Transdisciplinary research utilizes a broad, but not clearly defined, set of methods for knowledge production.
Bryan, K. S., & Klein, J. T. (1998). Crossing Boundaries: Knowledge, Disciplinarities, and Interdisciplinarities. History of Education Quarterly, 38(2), 225–227. https://doi.org/10.2307/370004
This paper is a comprehensive and rigourous critique of the ways disciplinary boundaries still inhibit knowledge-production and integration.
Burger, P., & Kamber, R. (2003). Knowledge as a Key Notion. Issues in Integrative Studies, 21, 43–73.
The authors argue for an understanding of transdisciplinary modes of scientific knowledge production that rests on assumptions regarding the specific tasks and challenges for a ‘problem-solving’ or ‘action-oriented’ science.
Campbell, D. T. (1969). Ethnocentrism of Disciplines and the Fish-Scale Model of Omniscience. Interdisciplinary Relationships in the Social Sciences, 328–348.
Donald T. Campbell on the institutions of scientific knowledge and the limits to interdisciplinarity.
Castán Broto, V., Gislason, M., & Ehlers, M. H. (2009). Practising interdisciplinarity in the interplay between disciplines: Experiences of established researchers. Environmental Science and Policy, 12(7), 922–933. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2009.04.005
This paper focuses on the practice of interdisciplinary research and its relationship with disciplines within the context of sustainability research.
Clark, B., & Button, C. (2011). Sustainability transdisciplinary education model: Interface of arts, science, and community (STEM). International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 12(1), 41–54. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676371111098294
The purpose of this paper is to describe the components of a sustainability transdisciplinary education model (STEM), a contemporary approach linking art, science, and community, that were developed to provide university and K-12 students, and society at large shared learning opportunities.
Evans, T. L. (2015). Transdisciplinary collaborations for sustainability education: Institutional and intragroup challenges and opportunities. Policy Futures in Education, 13(1), 70–96. https://doi.org/10.1177/1478210314566731
The author characterizes sustainability education as transdisciplinary praxis, explores the institutional and interpersonal barriers to transdisciplinary faculty collaboration, and suggests rationales and strategies for overcoming these barriers.
Hamilton, J. M., & Neimanis, A. (2018). Composting Feminisms and Environmental Humanities. Environmental Humanities, 10(2), 501–527. https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-7156859
In this provocation, the authors develop ‘composting’ as a material metaphor to tell a particular story about the environmental humanities. Building on Donna Haraway’s work, they insist ‘it matters what compostables make compost.’
Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspectives. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575–599.
Haraway’s seminal text on epistemological heirarchies. The alternative to relativism is partial, locatable, critical knowledges sustaining the possibility of webs of connections called solidarity in politics and shared conversations in epistemology.
Hirsch Hadorn, G., Bradley, D., Pohl, C., Rist, S., & Wiesmann, U. (2006). Implications of transdisciplinarity for sustainability research. Ecological Economics, 60(1), 119–128. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ECOLECON.2005.12.002
In ecological economics the terms sustainable development and transdisciplinarity are closely related. In this article the emergence of transdisciplinary research in the North and the South is described. By distinguishing analytically among basic, applied and transdisciplinary research the challenges that have to be tackled in transdisciplinary projects are analyzed.
Klein, J. T. (2001). The Discourse of Transdisciplinarity: An Expanding Global Field. In Transdisciplinarity: Joint Problem Solving among Science, Technology, and Society (pp. 35–44). Birkhäuser Basel. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-0348-8419-8_4
The International Transdisciplinarity Conference in Zurich was a defining event in the evolution of a new discourse of transdisciplinary problem solving. The new discourse is linked historically with a new climate for participatory research on sustainability problems, changes in the nature of disciplinary research, and the emergence of new knowledge fields. The state-of-the-art represented by the conference is a truly global platform for future research and collaborative problem solving.
Lattuca, L. R. (2001). Creating Interdisciplinarity: Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching among College and University Faculty. The Journal of General Education, 51(2), 149–152.
This is an original conceptualization of interdisciplinarity based on interviews with faculty who are engaged in its practice. The author’s findings result in useful suggestions for individuals concerned with the meaning of faculty work, the role and impact of disciplines in academe today, and the kinds of issues that should guide the evaluation of faculty scholarship.
Lawrence, R. J., & Després, C. (2004). Futures of Transdisciplinarity. Futures, 36(4), 397–405. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2003.10.005
In what ways do transdisciplinary contributions differ from the more familiar interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary ones? Is transdisciplinarity applied frequently, and if so by whom? For what reasons and types of problems can it be used? Last, but not the least, how is transdisciplinarity operationalized in research and professional practice? This special issue of Futures is an attempt to answer these kinds of questions.
López-Huertas, M. (2013). Reflexions on multidimensional knowledge: Its influence on the foundation of knowledge organization. Arqueologia Mexicana, 40(6), 400–407. https://doi.org/10.5771/0943-7444-2013-6-400
The theories that underlie multidimensional knowledge (multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity) are revisited. The objective of this part is to analyze some proposals in order to arrive to the main features characterizing inter- and transdisciplinarity. A reflection on this thinking, with special reference to transdisciplinarity, follows, in the belief that this model can be of interest to the foundations of the organization of knowledge.
Madni, A. M. (2007). Transdisciplinarity: Reaching Beyond Disciplines To Find Connections. Journal of Integrated Design and Process Science, 11(1), 1–11.
This paper discusses the aims of transdisciplinarity, the road to transdisciplinarity, successes resulting from transdisciplinary thinking, and recommendations for a research and education agenda embracing trandsdisciplinary thinking.
Max-Neef, M. A. (2005). Foundations of transdisciplinarity. Ecological Economics, 53(1), 5–16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2005.01.014
Two possibilities are proposed in this paper, in terms of a weak and a strong transdisciplinarity. The former can be applied following traditional methods and logic, and is essentially practical. The latter represents an epistemological challenge that introduces a kind of quantum logic, as a substitute for linear logic, and breaks with the assumption of a single reality. Strong transdisciplinarity is still in the making, thus representing an unfinished scientific programme that offers fascinating possibilities for advanced reflection and research.
McGregor, S. L. T. (2015). Transdisciplinary knowledge creation. In Transdisciplinary Professional Learning and Practice (pp. 9–24). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-11590-0_2
This chapter frames the transdisciplinary enterprise as an educative process by which people become a more complex self as they engage in transdisciplinary work using the transdisciplinary methodology. In turn this complex self, who has experienced a series of inner changes (paradigmatic, intellectual and philosophical), can better contribute to solving the problems of the world using the transdisciplinary methodology.
Mittelstrass, J. (2011). On transdisciplinarity. Trames, 15(4), 329–338. https://doi.org/10.3176/tr.2011.4.01
Within the boundaries of transdisciplinary developments, the individual disciplines do not remain what they were, they at least change their methodical and theoretical perspectives. Not just the theories in the narrow sense, also the disciplines themselves get pulled into the process of research and science – in a systematic manner. textlessbrtextgreatertextlessbrtextgreater
Montuori, A. (2013). Complexity and Transdisciplinarity: Reflections on Theory and Practice. World Futures, 69(4–6), 200–230. https://doi.org/10.1080/02604027.2013.803349
Systems and complexity theories are transversal approaches that provide a new way of thinking as a response to the traditional reductionist approach that emerged with modernity. Complexity and transdisciplinarity are particularly relevant in an increasingly diverse, networked, uncertain, and fast-changing world. Examples are drawn from personal experience in academia, cross-cultural experiences, and the arts.
Nicolescu, B. (2010). Methodology of Transdisciplinarity–Levels of Reality, Logic of the Included Middle and Complexity. Transdisciplinary Journal of Engineering & Science, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.22545/2010/0009
The concept of levels of Reality, formulated in 1982, is the key concept of transdisciplinarity. The introduction of the levels of Reality induces a multidimensional and multi-referential structure of Reality, signifying the coexistence between complex plurality and open unity. Every level is characterized by its incompleteness; the laws governing this level are just a part of the totality of laws governing all levels.
Nowotny, H., Scott, P., & Gibbons, M. (2003). Re-Thinking Science: Knowledge and the Public in an Age of Uncertainty. Contemporary Sociology, 32(2), 255–257.
Re-Thinking Science presents an account of the dynamic relationship between society and science. Despite the mounting evidence of a much closer, interactive relationship between society and science, current debate still seems to turn on the need to maintain a ‘line’ to demarcate them. The authors conclude that this line is regularly transgressed and that the resulting closer interaction of science and society signals the emergence of a new kind of science: contextualized or context-sensitive science. The co-evolution between society and science requires a more or less complete re-thinking of the basis on which a new social contract between science and society might be constructed.
Padurean, A., Cheveresan, C. T., Padurean, A., & Cheveresan, C. T. (2010). Transdisciplinarity in education. Journal Plus Education, 1, 127–133.
This paper analyzes the definitions of the concept of transdisciplinarity to highlight the need for applying it, for the human of today and those of the future. To point out transdisciplinarity’s relation to education and the mutuality of that relation, and to suggest a number of ways and exigencies in a transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning of modern languages departments, including computer assistance.
Segalàs, J., & Tejedor, G. (2013). Transdiciplinarity. A must for sustainable education. 41st SEFI Conference.
Sustainability issues are widely recognized as wicked problems, which should not be considered as problems to be solved, but as conditions to be governed. There is a general agreement on the need to reform scientific expertise as it is required to deal with sustainability challenges, by developing new ways of knowledge production and decision-making. Transdisciplinary aspects of sustainability are widely acknowledged as a transformational stream of sustainability science.
Uline, C. L., Tschannen-Moran, M., & Perez, L. (2003). Constructive Conflict: How Controversy Can Contribute to School Improvement. Teachers College Record, 105(5), 782–815. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9620.00268
Conflict, though often unsettling, is a natural part of collective human experience. It can leave participants ill at ease, so it is often avoided and suppressed. Yet conflict, when well managed, breathes life and energy into relationships and can cause individuals to be more innovative and productive. Conflict is present within our schools whether we like it or not. Educators must find ways to legitimize critique and controversy within organizational life. This article examines constructive conflict within the context of a comprehensive Midwestern high school engaged in significant reform efforts. Here conflict is employed as a means to promote individual and organizational learning and growth.