This article explores story and science as products of human cultures, imagination, and innovation, using the recent emergence of heroism research as a case study. Drawing on in-depth interviews with experts in the field of heroism studies and beyond, the paper investigates interdisciplinary perspectives on heroism, and explores synergies between language used in the biological sciences and the hero’s journey story arc. Story and metaphor are found to be important methodological tools in participants’ contemporary research practices. The hero’s journey, in particular, emerges as an interpretive apparatus that can inform interdisciplinary, novel and creative research practices, and facilitate the breakdown of increasingly dissolving disciplinary boundaries. The compatibility of narratives of heroism and biology indicated in this qualitative study is a promising platform for re-introducing diverse ways of knowing and ameliorating the split between competing knowledge cultures in contemporary scholarship.
Keywords: hero’s journey, heroism science, two cultures, science, story, metaphor, interdisciplinary, biology, evolution, transformation, qualitative methods, science communication, academia, collaboration, consilience, imagination, creativity, culture, gene, dialogue, DNA, body, Western culture, diversity, open science