Over much of its history since 1923, the SSRC has sought to shape the craft of social science by transcending and traversing the boundaries that define established disciplines and ways of working. The Council has long considered the individual social science disciplines as an integrated configuration of subjects, concepts, theories, and methods, thus serving as a counterweight to intellectual fragmentation. The SSRC has also, from its establishment, built intellectual ties across the frontiers that divide the social sciences from the natural and biological sciences, and from the humanities.
The spaces between fields—or the "borderlands" between disciplines—represent unique opportunities for social inquiry. The new Scholarly Borderlands initiative, supported by funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, aims to shape the craft of social science by establishing interdisciplinary working groups and projects that ask novel questions, develop new frameworks, and find innovative answers. By encouraging dialogue and collaboration across analytical, methodological, and epistemological boundaries, the Council aims to build fresh ties within the social sciences while connecting them more robustly to work in the natural sciences and humanities.