Observer Forum


Present, Past, and Future

For at least a couple of reasons, APS is to be commended for devoting attention, and Observer space, to various issues surrounding interdisciplinary inquiry (Elizabeth Phillips, “Beyond the Department: An Organizational Model for Interdisciplinarity”, Observer, Vol. 26, No. 2 February, 2013). First, such discussion is consistent with, and could be reciprocally connected to, an ever-expanding wave of national and international innovation — substantive and institutional — in the realm of “ID/TD” = Inter/Trans-Disciplinarity (among many sources: Frodeman et al., 2010; Kessel, Rosenfield, & Anderson, 2008).

Second, it’s worth noting, even emphasizing, that the view of “Psychology [as] inherently interdisciplinary” (Phillips’ opening sentence) was anticipated — at a time when the idea was far from fashionable — by late APS Fellow Sigmund Koch (Finkelman and Kessel, 1999; Kessel & Finkelman, 2001). I suggest that Koch’s articulation and analysis of “The Psychological Studies” — presented with characteristic acuity and rich rhetorical style — can and should be one significant starting point for how we bring such a cross-boundaries vision to vibrant and sustainable life.

-Frank Kessel

APS Fellow

The University of New Mexico



References and Further Reading:

Finkelman, D., & Kessel, F. S. (Eds.) (1999). Sigmund Koch: Psychology in human context — Essays indissidence and reconstruction. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Frodeman, R., et al., Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity. (2010). New York: Oxford University Press.

Kessel, F. S., & Finkelman, D. (2001). The lasting legacy of Sigmund Koch. American Psychologist, 56(5), 417–419.

Kessel, F.S., Rosenfield, P. L., & Anderson, N. B. (Eds.) (2008).Interdisciplinary research: Case studies from health and social science (2nd ed.) New York: Oxford University Press.

Observer Vol.26, No.3 March, 2013

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