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The "I" in IRISE:  Welcome and Working Definitions

Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (IN)Equality

The "I" in IRISE: Welcome and Working Definitions

Welcome to the new Blog for the Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In)Equality or IRISE as we are affectionately known. IRISE is designed to provide opportunities and support for faculty and students at the University of Denver to engage in the development of cutting edge interdisciplinary research on issues of inequality, social justice, and inclusivity with a central focus on topics related to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status and religion.

This Blog therefore serves as one platform by which to engage you and others around some of the core questions and issues vexing the researchers associated with IRISE. Key among such questions and issues is understanding the "I" in IRISE. As you no doubt noticed, the "I" refers not only to the words "interdisciplinary" and "incubator," but also to the consequence as well as meaning of failing to achieve "equality" in socially complex and diverse world. As President Barack Obama said in a speech in 2013, inequality is the "defining challenge of our time" and because of this, understanding and connecting the "I"s in IRISE can help us better comprehend how and in what ways we can meet those challenges today and tomorrow.

As an initial take, I want to provide some working definitions to all of these terms from which our conversation can start:



"Interdisciplinary research is a mode of research by teams or individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice."

-Committee on Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (2004). Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research. National Academies. Washington: National Academy Press, p. 2.



"a: an apparatus by which eggs are hatched artificially; b: an apparatus with a chamber used to provide controlled environmental conditions especially for the cultivation of microorganisms or the care and protection of premature or sick babies; or c: an organization or place that aids the development of new business ventures especially by providing low-cost commercial space, management assistance, or shared services."

- Merriam-Webster on-line


Over the course of the next several months, I and others associated with IRISE, including its inaugural Postdoctoral Fellows , will use this blog to interrogate the "I" in IRISE. I anticipate that our conversation will be complex, contradictory, and no doubt contentious. Nevertheless, we hope that it stirs the imagination as we collectively work to prioritize inequality as a core research area across various disciplines at DU. As we begin this journey, I encourage you to examine all of the exciting research on inequality that DU faculty and graduate students are accomplishing and we encourage your active engagement with this blog to help us achieve our goals.