What are the Humanities?
The humanities are the branches of learning that are concerned with the human experience. These experiences are manifest through literature, art, drama, music, philosophy, religion, political science etc. They seek to make sense of human experience, relationships and the events in the world around us.
All of these strands of thinking are inextricably linked, which is why an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the humanities is beneficial, if not necessary. This interdisciplinary nature lends itself to the possibility of finding a multitude of complementary answers proposed to humankind’s fundamental and perennial questions. These questions include things like:
- What is the origin of life? What do our answers to this question tell us about ourselves and our culture?
- What does religion offer? How does one lead a religious life?
- What is Freedom?
- What is the Self?
- What is Nature and what is our relation to it?
- Why do we fight wars? How does war touch culture and humanity? How does culture influence the ways we think about war?
- What does it mean to be in love? Why do cultures have different ideas about how to demonstrate love?
- What are our responsibilities to our fellow men and women?
- What is the position of women or racial and ethnic minorities in society? How should they be treated in a democracy? How does religion or culture or history influence our attitudes toward race and ethnicity?
- What is death and how do we think about what it means to die?