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Guest talk

Prof. Dr. Frédéric Darbellay

(University of Geneva, Switzerland)

The End of Disciplinary Identities?

Interdisciplinarity to rethink knowledge production

Interdisciplinarity research has become a major preoccupation of education policy, universities and research funding agencies, at national, European and international levels. This preoccupation is related to the ambitions and expectations of many researchers who question the potential and limits of their own discipline. They want to establish new connections with other disciplines and to engage in a constructive dialogue in order to analyze, understand and solve the complex problems of our time that go beyond the scope of a single discipline. These issues call for the decompartmentalization of disciplinary knowledge production, which often remains locked within the boundaries of disciplines still constrained by the hierarchical and discipline-based organization of universities. In this context arises the crucial issue of the disciplinary identity of researchers who are between and beyond disciplinary boundaries. Who are they? Where do they come from and where are they going? Can they exist and durably survive in the university; are they supported or penalized in their academic careers? Are they inventing a new profile of researchers more or less creative and undisciplined? Are they process agents of disciplinary identities and renewing academia or are they only the fashion of the day? We specifically address these burning issues that animate both specialists and unclassifiable researchers.

Frédéric Darbellay is Associate Professor at the University of Geneva (Valais Campus) and Head of Inter- and Transdisciplinarity Unit in the Centre for Children's Rights Studies. His research focuses on the study of interdisciplinarity as a creative process of knowledge production between and beyond disciplines. He is author of several publications on the theory and practice of inter- and transdisciplinarity through multiple scientific fields in higher education. Among his main (authored and co-edited) publications are Interdisciplinarité et Transdisciplinarité en Analyse des Discours, Slatkine, 2005; Le Défi de l'Inter- et Transdisciplinarité, PPUR, 2008; A Vision of Transdisciplinarity. Laying Foundations for a World Knowledge Dialogue, EPFL Press/CRC Press, 2008; Repenser l’Interdisciplinarité, Slatkine, 2010; Common Knowledge: The Challenge of Transdisciplinarity, EPFL Press/CRC Press, 2011; La Circulation des Savoirs: Interdisciplinarité, Concepts Nomades, Analogies, Métaphores, Peter Lang, 2012; L'interdisciplinarité racontée. Chercher hors frontières, vivre l'interculturalité, Peter Lang, 2014.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015, 4.00–5.30 p.m. | Vogelpothsweg 78 (CDI building), room 114
Center for Higher Education (zhb)
Professorship of Higher Education

Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.


TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".


The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.


The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.


Interactive map

The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Campus Lageplan Zum Lageplan