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Humanities LibreTexts

What are the Humanities?

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  • When I tell people that I teach the Humanities, they invariably say “What’s that?” My short answer is “It’s history with the arts tucked in.” But the Humanities are so much more! In a classroom, I’d write Humanities on the board and ask for the root word. Eventually the class would determine that “human” was the root word. So accordingly, this course is all about mankind’s (male and female) great achievements.

    The Humanities is a term for a very broad area of human creativity and study which includes Language, Philosophy, History, Religion, Literature, Art, Camera Arts, Architecture, Music, Theater, and Dance. Each of these categories is called a Discipline.

    The Disciplines of Art, Camera Arts, Architecture, Music, Theater and Dance can also be called the Fine and Performing Arts. They are CREATIVE and reveal VALUES to us. A value is an object or event important to human beings.

    Literature, Language, Philosophy, History, and Religion are considered to be REACTIVE. These Disciplines actually cause us to REFLECT upon and CLARIFY the values that are important to us.

    Generally, the Humanities do not use strictly objective or scientific standards. Since it’s all about what is important to us, to human beings, the Humanities are subjective. What we think and feel is and has always been expressed through the Humanities!