“On Being a Transdisciplinary Freedom Scholar & Researcher”
One of the things that I like about being an “interdisciplinary freedom scholar” and a “cross-disciplinary freedom researcher” is that I write what I want and I transgress disciplinary constraints. I do not want anyone to tell me that you have a PhD in English Literary Studies and Intellectual History ; hence, you have to write in your respective discipline(s) of study (Yet I am a literary scholar and an intellectual historian); or I do not want someone to advise me you have a PhD in Systematic Theology and Ethics; therefore, you should contribute distinctively to these two disciplines. (Yet I am a Christian theologian and ethicist.) Also, I do not want somebody to inform me that you are a “black scholar,” you need to write about black issues; or you are a Haitian-American writer, you should be writing distinctively about Haitian matters. (Yet I am both an Africana scholar and a Haitian writer.) I write what I want and do so interdisciplinarily; for me, this is what it means to be an “interdisciplinary freedom scholar” and a “transdisciplinary freedom researcher.” I wouldn’t want anyone to tell me to do otherwise–whether I teach at an English Department, Black/Africana Studies, or even a Religious/Theology Department. I am a discipline transgressor and transdiscipline advocate, especially in the Humanities. Consequently, my academic interests engage the academic fields of history, anthropology, literature, religion, theology, race, and history of ideas.
I am an expert in the disciplines that I was trained in and those that I constantly write about, not in those I want to write about. On the other hand, I do understand this intellectual sentiment or calling is not for everybody, and no one should be forced to write and reseach cross-disciplinarily or intersectionally, but we should acknowledge and value the work of those who do that. When it comes to this particular self-interest and personal ambition, I would like to propose the phrase, “intellectual academic identities,” to describe some of us who follow this interdisciplinary passion and transdisciplinary desire, both as a writer and researcher.
In closing, the structure of the American academia does not promote the interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary model (i.e. just check out academic posts or job announcements) or scholarship; thus, the traditional model linked to the academic system and structure does not work in the best interest of the transdiciplinary researcher-scholar.