when academic disciplines multiply banshees scream

December 4, 2009 § Leave a comment

Universities teach a lot of ologies. I am sure you can name five before I could say Jack Robinson. But morphologists – those interested in word formation might be interested in how these academic disciplines get their names and how they name their … babies … um subdisciplines.

The other day in the library I found myself in the zoology section. A good old fashioned ology, no? My eyes, however, fell on two interesting books, one on cryptozoology, defined by the OED as:

[t]he study of extinct, unknown, or legendary animals whose existence or survival is not (or has not yet been) recognized by mainstream zoology.

The other discussed topics in zoomusicology, a word not yet in the venerable OED, about the music made by animals.

Now … what if some of these legendary animals were also musical? Would the new subdiscipline be cryptozoomusicology?

And then we could invent a new subdiscipline investigating the cultural uses of the knowledge of the music of legendary animals ethnocryptozoomusicology. This musn’t be confused with the science of writing down the music of legendary animals believed in by specific peoples. That would be ethnocryptozoomusicography. Pursuing an understanding of how the brain processes the music of legendary animals might be psychocryptozoomusicology, and or course there would be different cultural perspectives on how this might happen – ethnopsychocryptozoomusicology. But the real question, is this. If you study peoples who create drugs to take to enhance the ability to hear and process the music of legendary animals, what field of study would you be in?

ethnopsychopharmacology + ethnopsychocryptozoomusicology = ?
Answers on the back of a postcard?

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