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Discipline and Prosper? A Case Study of Interdisciplinary Environments in English Literature Master’s Level Courses in Sweden

Authors:

Virginia Langum ,

Umeå University, SE
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Kirk P. H. Sullivan

Umeå University, SE
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Abstract

Interdisciplinarity has emerged as a major trend both in Swedish academia and abroad. While the value of interdisciplinary contributions to research has long been acknowledged, others worry about the waning of disciplinary specific training in higher education. Arguments both for and against interdisciplinary teaching environments have been raised. How does an interdisciplinary teaching environment impact the study of English literature? This article studies two online master’s courses at a Swedish university: Narrating Madness in Literature and Culture and Literature and Disability. These two master’s level courses knit English literary studies with other research fields, such as disability studies and medicine. These courses draw students from a variety of disciplines, such as psychology, social work and pedagogy, as well as English and comparative literature backgrounds. In this article, we examine the seminar fora from the two courses. We ask: how does the interdisciplinary environment contribute to knowledge construction and how does the disciplinary background (English literature or non-English literature) of students influence participation and performance in the course? While the courses resulted in ‘epistemic insight’ and knowledge construction, we found that improvements could be made to support students from non-English literature backgrounds. We conclude this article with some suggestions.

How to Cite: Langum, V. and Sullivan, K.P.H., 2021. Discipline and Prosper? A Case Study of Interdisciplinary Environments in English Literature Master’s Level Courses in Sweden. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 20(2), pp.207–224.
Published on 18 Oct 2021.

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