The Metaphor of Boundary Crossing

Would you walk into a neighbor’s house without knocking? Would you cross the border to Mexico without a basic understanding of Mexican culture?

I hope, for your sake and safety that your answers to both those questions were “no.”

The reason why, is because crossing boundaries can get you into trouble. For example, the “issue of human cloning” requires “crossing the boundaries between biology, religion, ethics and law,” (Repko, 41). This gets tricky, especially when several of those disciplines are particularly controversial.

In my field, however, I’m not too concerned. I want my students to cross boundaries full speed ahead. If we’re outdoors, and we notice some cool rock features, you better believe I’ll be encouraging them to inquire about geology and geomorphology. If we cross a river, I want them to think about the chemistry of the nutrients in the water. A lot of the disciplines that I’ll encounter in my field aren’t controversial, and therefore I encourage border crossing.

That being said, it’s important to cross correctly, educating my students with a sound knowledge each time they dive over to a new discipline. The “‘traveler must learn the language of the ‘country,'” (Repko, 42). The students must at least leave with a foundational understanding of what they’re inquiring about.IMG_5577

Here’s a photo I took on top of mount Carrigan. Students who see this might be tempted to cross the boundaries into areas such as zoology (investigating the dog’s behavior), hydrology (to learn what’s going on with the water the dog is drinking), sociology (why did I take the picture?), and even geology (what can we learn about the formation of mountains in the background).


Works Cited:

Repko, Allen. 2014. Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies. Sage Publications, L.A. Print.


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