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What are the Humanities? : Student Responses

Dept Chair, Dr Paul Crowe asked his HUM-101W Introduction to the Humanities students the following questions: What does "Humanities" mean?  Why do we need them? What purpose does education serve? and what purpose should it serve? Students responded with insightful, imaginative, and relevant answers that may help guide us in understanding the Humanistic tradition, and shed light on what we mean when we talk about the Humanities. Here are some of their answers:

“Humanities” to me, means to study and learn about ourselves, as humans, and grow and change our ways of thinking, understanding; and to give us an opportunity to change the way see each other and the world around us.
 

 

"Humanities offers probably one of the only courses or areas of study that doesn’t focus on providing us with skills regarding a single profession, rather it focuses on equipping us with knowledge relevant to our existence and way of life; and it develops our critical intellectual skills."

 



"An education in the humanities serves its purpose on an international level. There are various cultural perspectives around the world, and with education we can expand our human perspectives globally and engage with cultures we may otherwise have never encountered."



"THE HUMANITIES IS THE STUDY OF PHILOSOPHY, LITERATURE, HISTORY, ART HISTORY, POLITICS, AND RELIGION TO LEARN ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN, FROM ANTIQUITY TO TODAY."

"We need the Humanities to better understand where we come from, how far we’ve come and potentially understand where we’re going."

"The purpose of educating in the humanities is to develop our thinking. Humanities forces us to ask a lot of questions about what it means to be human, which helps us question our motives and understand our values."

"We need Humanities to learn about different aspects of culture and society, not only what is familiar to us already. It deepens our understanding of other cultures."

 

"Education is typically thought of as taking place in the classroom, but more accurately education is all around us: We learn from our experiences, surroundings, and past and present peoples. Education should serve to enrich peoples’ perspectives on various subjects, and strive to promote open-mindedness."

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"Education acts as a medium to broaden opportunities and create pathways that lead to better standards of living for current, as well as future generations. It should serve as a weapon to eradicate ignorance."


"Education, from an objective standpoint seems to serve as a way to earn a standing in today’s world. It serves the purpose of a stepping-stone to get to “success” in the eyes of many (my parents and lot of others’ included). I feel like despite those things education should also serve the purpose of satiating people’s curiosities without being held back by a barrier. Something that should be enjoyed for what it is rather than what it can be used for. A stepping-stone as much for the sake of experience and the want to learn something, as it is for getting a stable job and a roof over one’s head."

 

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"The Humanities is the study of how humans interact with each other and their environments, as well as examining cultural differences around the world. It encourages the development of human virtue and political activism."


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"WE NEED THE HUMANITIES BECAUSE IT TEACHES US IMPORTANT LESSONS AND VALUES, AND IT INCREASES OUR AWARENESSS ABOUT VARIOUS SOCIAL AND MORAL DYNAMICS. IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT CAN BE APPLIED TO OTHER AREAS SUCH AS SCIENCE, BUSINESS, ENGLISH, ETC. DUE TO ITS INTERACTIONS WITH DIFFERENT PEOPLES AND TOPICS."

"The Humanities looks at the development of the human race and the philosophical background of humans. Humanities is also the study of the human culture through art, religion, and other aspects of human life."

 


"Depending on the type of education. Humanities-related education is important because humanities is the critical study of culture that is necessary in order to help build global citizens that are aware of their world well enough to make good choices about it. Essentially, an education in the humanities is important in order to trump ignorant reactions like bigotry, and to address matters like environmental collapse."

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"Education provides credentials in our society to obtain a higher paying job and to work in fields that we are passionate about. It should be used to expand one’s mind and be a way for people to express their passions and create diversity in our society and world."