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Defining the Humaniities Paper Essay

Humanities consist of humans and their ways of life starting from prehistoric to current cultural events. When one learns from past generations or civilizations one is better able to make wise decisions for the future. According to Georgia Humanities Council (2009-2013), “The humanities are stories passed from generation to generation to transmit culture. These stories are also known as our history, literature, laws, ethics, religion, philosophy, anthropology etc” (Why the Humanities Matter).

This paper will be a discussion of humanities and give an insight of what humanities means as it is defined by various sources. I have chosen a cultural event from my life in which I will elaborate on to inform the reader of its importance in my own life and the culture around me. I will also show how this expression of culture and its relevant to what I know about the humanities, art, style, genius, and culture of the time period it represents. Last to be discussed is how the chosen expression of culture compares with other forms from the same time period.

Humanities Defined According to Humanities Council of Washington D. C. (n. d. ), ” The Humanities are the disciplines that help us understand and define cultures, and human experience, including history, anthropology, literature, art history, ethics, philosophy and jurisprudence ” (Humanities Council of Washington, D. C. – Functional Humanities). Humanities can help promote a culture or civilization’s heritage and history as well as its literature. Humanities also serve a vital role in community issues and help to promote one’s understanding of human values, traditions, issues faced by society.

The term humanities according to The Congressional Act establishing the National Endowment for the Humanities includes the study as well as one’s interpretation of modern and classical languages, literature, linguistics, history, archeology, philosophy, ethics, religions, and the history, and theory of the arts (Humanities Council of Washington D. C. , n. d. ). Humanities cover a wide array of areas and time frames. Cajun Music I chose Cajun music because I have a rich cultural tie to Cajun music growing up around this musical type. I find Cajun music has a little bit of several types of music played because of its rhythms and lyrics.

The first Cajun records came out in 1928, but it was not until the 1960s that the genre became well known beyond Louisiana (National Geographic Society, 1996-2012). Cajuns are known for their love of dancing, including two-stepping, and waltzing. Cajun songs with its deep emotion and rhythms that make an individual want to get up and dance goes hand-in-hand to tailor to these cultural inclinations. According to National Geographic Society (1996-2012), ” Many of the songs have their origins in old Acadian and French songs, but Creole, Celtic, African, Anglo-Saxon and Amerindian influences were also picked up along the way ” (Cajun Music).

Many Cajun songs have lyrics in French-Acadian and include a fiddle and accordion, which gives the music its unique sound. My experiences with Cajun music stems from listening to my grandfather play the fiddle and sing in French. I was not always aware of what was said but by traditions and my culture I have learned to embrace the music and rich cultural beliefs my ancestors have laid out for me to learn from. How Cajun music tailors to my knowledge of humanities, art, style, genius, and culture of the time period it represents.

When I evaluate what humanities means, I can better understand how Cajun music fits in because this type of music, which was once more localized to it its origins in Louisiana but now has a mass appeal and has become popular throughout North America and abroad. Humanities are about the arts and one’s culture. The style of modern day Cajun music displays its sounds anywhere from gospel, jazz, to rock-in-roll. Where it was once more primitive style of music and sung acapella, nowadays includes instruments, and a mixture between French and English wording.

The genius of Cajun music originates from Cajun’s telling their story and intergrading their culture into the music. The cultural time period Cajun music represents would coincide with the movement from more classical music to rhythm and blues, rock-and roll, country, bluegrass, gospel, and jazz. Cajun music is a music transcending time and has evolved like all the previously mentioned styles of music. How Cajun music compares with other forms of culture from the same time period.

The evolution of Cajun music compares well to other styles of music but lack the use of technology instrumentally mostly. This type of music displays historic and modern day Cajun cultural beliefs and makes an individual want to dance. As in any art one’s location has much to do with it cultural styles. Conclusion Humanities are instrumental in understanding a civilization’s culture and learning from history to help an individual make wise decision for the future.

Cajun music is the cultural even I chose because I have lived it all of my life, and it is part of my culture. References Georgia Humanities Council. (2009-2013). Georgia Humanities Council. Retrieved from http://www. georgiahumanities. org/about-us Humanities Council of Washington D. C.. (n. d. ). Defining the Humanities. Retrieved from http://www. wdchumanities. org/docs/defininghumanities. pdf National Geographic Society. (1996-2012). Nat Geo Music. Retrieved from http://worldmusic. nationalgeographic. com/view/page. basic/genre/content. genre/cajun_700.


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