Traveling Concepts in the Classroom

Experiences in Interdisciplinary Education


  • Tessa Diphoorn Utrecht University
  • Brianne McGonigle Leyh
  • Susanne C. Knittel
  • Martijn Huysmans
  • Merel Van Goch


podcasting, travelling concepts, active learning, interdisciplinarity, education, reflection


Interdisciplinary research is widely valued and practiced within higher education. However, there is less attention on interdisciplinary teaching and learning, and existing examples often focus on problem-based approaches. The purpose of this special issue is to explore the potential of a concept-based approach to interdisciplinary education, working with the notion of traveling concepts. Traveling concepts refer to the metaphorical traveling or use of concepts within and between disciplines that impacts their meaning, reach, and operational value. This special issue introduction provides a theoretical and conceptual framework around traveling concepts, which special issue contributions then use to reflect on specific interventions. These reflections highlight the importance of interdisciplinarity beyond a problem-solving frame and provide concrete classroom examples to inspire teachers.


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Author Biographies

Susanne C. Knittel

SUSANNE C. KNITTEL, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University. Her research focuses on the cultural representation of violence, trauma, and atrocity. She teaches courses on modern and contemporary literature, literary theory, cultural memory, ecocriticism, and posthumanism. Email:  

Martijn Huysmans

MARTIJN HUYSMANS, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Economics, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. His research is focused on political economy, and he teaches in an interdisciplinary PPE program (politics, philosophy, economics). Email:

Merel Van Goch

MEREL VAN GOCH, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She is interested in how and what students and scholars learn, especially in interdisciplinary contexts. Her research topics include metacognition, creativity, and other competences relevant to higher education, and her teaching methods emphasize students' self-directed learning. Email:


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How to Cite

Diphoorn, T., McGonigle Leyh, B., Knittel, S. C. ., Huysmans, M., & Goch, M. V. (2023). Traveling Concepts in the Classroom: Experiences in Interdisciplinary Education . Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 12(SI), 1–14. Retrieved from