Professor Pedantic 教授的考究學問
The professor awaits your query on academic writing, though in all honesty, he doesn’t have a lot of time for you. He is a tenured full professor and working on yet another magnificent academic tome. Even so, he has graciously consented to entertain your question. Submit it and prepare to be edified.

QUESTION: I sometimes am frustrated—maybe even peeved—by the disinterest shown my research by scholars in other disciplines. For various reasons, I would feel more fulfilled if they showed more interest in my work. What can I do to elicit their interest?

It is interesting to me that you want your peers in other scholarly disciplines to show interest in your work. I mean, if you have a particular peer in mind, possibly the one with the dimpled smile and terrific hair, well, yes, I understand that and offer a one-word piece of advice: flirt. However, if your concern is more general in scope and intellectual in nature, your dilemma is much more interesting to me. Let me note that some scholars simply confine themselves to notoriously narrow fields of interest. Don’t take it as a personal affront that they don’t have time for you.

Still, there is much to be said for interdisciplinary fraternization as an intellectual exercise. While the aforementioned scholar who becomes a mental hermit can be applauded for his intense focus, approval is given with a caveat: Such narrow vision is unlikely to produce anything of broad significance. Academic research and writing always are deeper than they are wide, but both research and writing fall short of excellence when they lack context. Context is the “outside” information that gives a paper parallel meaning. Hermit-scholars often lack such perspective.

Your sense of wanting to interact with scholars across disciplines is a good one. The benefits of doing so are mutual. I would suggest that the surest way to attract the interest of such academic researchers is to demonstrate genuine interest in their research. Not only will you then win their interest in your work, you will likely come away with some arcane tidbit discovered by them in the course of their work. It is interesting how such esoteric knowledge can spur fresh thinking in an entirely unrelated field. Good luck with encouraging your peers to open their minds to you.

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