As I guess you know, I try and hear about research in other disciplines when it’s put in front of me and seems to cross my interests. In fact we all have to pay some attention to this sort of potential, but how much varies a lot. One might express it thus:
Medievalists operate in a climate where the word `interdisciplinary’ is like rain in the UK. It falls on one quite a lot, one soaks a certain amount of it up whether one likes it or not (no medieval historian completely ignores objects, for example, even if one only uses them for slides in Powerpoint), and it is generally agreed that we need more of it to do our work well, by which is often meant, to make plausible or successful bids for funding. But, all the same, most people prefer it when the sun comes out for them and they can luxuriate in the field they’ve made their own rather than continually having one’s view messed up by alternative perspectives. Very few people seem to actually like the rain.
This is the preamble of what became a long post that I put on Cliopatria, about how we are told we ought to do interdisciplinary work, about where some successful work of this sort is actually being done that I’ve heard about, and about a case where the cross-over actually doesn’t have much potential. I conclude with the feeling that small-scale technical collaborations are more likely to be helpful than big-brush social comparisons, but since the post covers computerised palæography in unusual Slavic scripts, pragmatic Christian converts who aren’t head-hunters even though the tourist industry would like you to think they are, and Bishop Daniel of Winchester’s advice to Saint Boniface, you may feel like reading it.