This article begins with the proposition that inter- and transdisciplinarity offer an important methodological grounding for collaborative HE research addressing complex agendas such as HE internationalization. Internationalization acts as a figure for the ‘troubled’ nature of higher education, hence we begin with the larger problem, discussing the current crises of disciplinary knowledge as the background question. We set out a framework for understanding and conceptualizing inter- and transdisciplinarity as a meta-theoretical approach that problematizes reductive and disciplinary approaches, in favour of research and analytical strategies which can work with, and across, differences.
To further work through and operationalize different possibilities offered by inter-and transdisciplinary approaches to HE internationalizations, we discuss the use of tools such as social cartography to do ‘bridging work’ across different disciplinary and theoretical backgrounds and contexts. A nonformal practitioner-collaborator project is discussed to highlight emergent dimensions of collaboration that might otherwise be overlooked. Inter- and transdisciplinarity are not pre-specified specialized ‘methods’, but are orientations that may take reductive, convergent, divergent or emergent pathways. Inter- and transdisciplinarity can perhaps be best treated as an problematizing and open-ended methodological approach that foregrounds plurality and contestation, orienting research frameworks towards inclusiveness, tensions, unpredictability and complexity.