What are the Humanities? : Student Responses
Associate Professor Dr Paul Crowe asked his students taking HUM-101W Introduction to the Humanities 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 were their answers:
“Humanities” 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 we 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 education 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 the 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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