APS Press Announces Disciplines & Discontinuities Series

The American Philosophical Society Press is pleased to announce a series of brief, essay-like books, Disciplines & Discontinuities, to tell the stories of how scholarly fields change. They are stories about the insights, discoveries and debates over the recent past that have reshaped the current state of knowledge and the prospects for future research. Spanning the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, and professions, the series overall will address the emergence of new disciplines; the influence of interdisciplinary exchange; the development of cross-disciplinary fields around pressing cultural, regional and global questions, facilitated by new technologies of research and collaboration; the democratization of disciplines and the multidisciplinary and post-disciplinary world in which many rising scholars operate today in the United States and internationally.

Each title in the Disciplines & Discontinuities series will offer a field-specific analysis combining intellectual, institutional, and social aspects, written by scholars who have been active in those developments. Their focus on continuities and discontinuities within and across disciplines advances insights into how disciplinary discourses and practices change, enriching knowledge even as they unsettle the conventions of synthesis and critique that may have once seemed to cabin specializations within more or less clear disciplinary boundaries. Today, read across disciplines, specialization—often disparaged as fragmentation—may be appreciated anew as the sign of a healthy field generating robust but unexpected new partnerships. 

Benjamin Franklin, in his 1743 proposal dedicating the American Philosophical Society to promoting “useful knowledge,” called for a community in which “there be always at least seven Members, viz. [namely] a Physician, a Botanist, a Mathematician, a Chemist, a Mechanician, a Geographer, and a general Natural Philosopher [scientist]...”  Since its original mandate, the APS has grown to an extraordinarily broad multidisciplinary, intellectually heterogeneous learned society, comprising hundreds of living members in the US and abroad. Disciplines & Discontinuities pursues the spirit of the APS in the wider conversations that enliven scholarship today.

The Series Editor: Carol J. Greenhouse (APS 2011) is Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Anthropology emeritus at Princeton University. Her research focuses on the ethnography of law in the United States and more broadly on the relevance of ethnography as democratic discourse.  

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