Against Interdisciplinarity as a Panacea

François Debrix, PhD


This presentation/paper offers a reflection on the state of interdisciplinary research today, with particular emphasis on the recent trend among scholars of all stripes to embark upon interdisciplinary or integrative research without necessarily being aware of the analytical stakes involved in such a form of research. In this presentation, I offer both words of caution about the usage of interdisciplinarity in research and words of hope about why and how interdisciplinary work can be performed.


François Debrix, a bilingual scholar whose research focuses on critical world order studies and the theory of transnational politics, has been named director of the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT), an interdisciplinary Ph.D. and certificate program in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech. Debrix is formerly the associate chair of the Department of Politics and International Relations at Florida International University, where he also directed an international lecture series. His research concentrates on contemporary political and social theory; critical and popular geopolitics; postmodern theory and culture; and the media and international relations. Debrix has authored three books: the forthcoming “Beyond Biopolitics: Theory and Violence in World Politics” (Routledge, 2011); “Tabloid Terror: War, Culture, and Geopolitics” (Routledge, 2008); and “Re-Envisioning Peacekeeping: The United Nations and the Mobilization of Ideology” (University of Minnesota Press, 1999). He is the editor of “Language, Agency, and Politics in a Constructed World” (M.E. Sharpe, 2003) and the co-editor of “Rituals of Mediation: International Politics and Social Meaning” (University of Minnesota Press, 2003), as well as “The Geopolitics of American Insecurity: Terror, Power, and Foreign Policy” (Routledge, 2009). Debrix has published more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and refereed long review essays in interdisciplinary theory journals across the social sciences and humanities such as Millennium, Philosophy & Social Criticism, Third World Quarterly, Alternatives, Geopolitics, New Political Science, Peace and Change, Études Internationales, Telos, Postmodern Culture, and International Political Sociology, among others. Debrix received his Ph.D. and a master’s degree from Purdue University and holds two bachelor’s degrees: one in English and Spanish literatures from the University of Haute Normandie, France; the other in International Relations and Diplomatic History from the Institute of Political Science in Strasbourg, France.



Leave a Reply