When learning about people and their cultures, it becomes inevitably to recognize how people are the result of their traditions, their stories, their ideas, and their words. It also becomes necessarily to learn about how people from past generations created the world they lived in and how this world made them the way they were. Learning about humanities is more than studying about past cultures. Each generation leaves a creative legacy, the sum of its ideas and achievements.
This legacy represents the response to the effort to ensure individual and collective survival, the need to establish ways of living in harmony with others, and the desire to understand everyone’s place in the universe (Fiero, 2011).
The study of Humanities is the study of the people and how they learn and documented their human experiences through art, music, architecture, philosophy, and literature. Defining Humanities “The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences” (University of South Florida, 2014). The primary definition of the singular form “humanity” refers to being “humane” that means civilized and well-educated.
Humane people recognize and practice concepts like “hospitality” and “justice”, even though its definition may vary in different places. The word “humanity” also refers to the “human race”. Using the word “humanities” it usually refers to the field of study within university settings, a group of subjects scholars study, discuss and debate including history, music, art, languages, philosophy, religion, and literature. (Behling, 2012) There are qualities that distinguish the humanities from other modes of human inquiry and expression.
The humanities engage in critical evaluation of visual, literary, communication and performing arts. In other words, the humanities critically analyze the human experiences HUMANITIES TODAY 3 across cultures that engage all modes of understanding such as intellectual, imaginative, and emotional. The study of humanities goes beyond just practicing the arts. It is the intense analysis of the art and its outcomes as well as how the imagination, emotions, and uncertainty affect the human being. The humanities explore the relationship between the insubstantial and hidden meanings.
It provides expression to all forms of human experience using all modes of understanding. The humanities capture the idea that is not just to study the arts but to engage with other modes of understanding including rational, intellectual, and critical mode as learned from social sciences. The humanities understand the role of individuals in exploring the human conditions. It reflects on the form and the content of all modes of expression including language, visual, auditory, or tactile. The study of humanities attends to the aspects of human experience that cannot be measured. For instance, when learning a new language.
The humanities recognize the general patterns of literature, linguistic, visual and performing arts throughout history. It also constructs and evaluates oral and written discussions in a logical form. The Current Developments in Politics, Socioeconomics, and Technology The arts, music, architecture, philosophy, and literature, are some of the disciplines of the humanities. These disciplines offer models and methods for addressing dilemmas and acknowledging ambiguity. They can help individuals face the tension between their concerns; promote informed discussions of conflicts; and place current issues in historical perspective.
These disciplines of humanity give voice and artistic shape to experience, balancing passion and rationality while exploring issues of morality and value. The study of humanities provides the HUMANITIES TODAY 4 scenario in which expressions, interpretations, and experiences can be recognized in areas explored by shared interests (The Ohio Humanities Council, 2015). The visual arts employ a wide variety of media, ranging from traditional colors used in painting, to wood, clay, marble, plastic and neon used in sculptures, to digital media, including photography and film.
The form of the art work depends on the manner in which the artist manipulates the elements of color, line, texture, and space. Artists manipulate form to describe the visible world or to create worlds of fantasy. (Fiero, 2011) There is a strong relationship between the arts and politics. In response to current political events within society, the arts may adopt certain social dimensions focusing on the controversy and on inspiring social changes.
For instance, Alexander Pushkin, (who died in 1837 at the age of 37), was a famous Russian writer who used his talent to irritate Russian officials by composing extremely arrogant and independent material which made fun of major and minor dictators (Wikipedia, 2015). The Arts are a form of expression used to manifest all types of emotions – in earlier and current times. It is a talent inspired by the free spirit of those with the capacity to express it.
The major elements of music are melody, rhythm, and harmony. However, while literary and visual texts are usually descriptive, music is almost nonrepresentational: it rarely has meaning beyond sound itself. Dance is the art form made by the human body as a way of expression and performance oriented.
(Fiero, 2011) Information collected by the Department of Education of the United States revealed that students involved in band or orchestra during their middle and high school years demonstrated to have higher levels of math proficiency by grade twelve. This data also showed that students who participate in school band have the lowest levels of current and lifelong use of alcohol, tobacco, HUMANITIES TODAY 5 and illicit drugs when compared to other groups within society. (Music Empowers Foundation, 2015) The architecture and its planning are fundamentally based in society.
The built environment affects the everyday actions of the people and their understanding of cultural values, social relations, institutions, and distributions of power. The failure of architects and planners to learn from the stories that are part of the people’s lives and to actually link the community values in their work is at the core of many urban dysfunctions present in current times. (Bartholomew & Locher, 2007) In terms of philosophy, the search for the truth through reasoned analysis, and history make use of prose to analyze and communicate ideas and information. In terms of literature, content and form are usually interrelated.
The subject manner or form of a literary piece determines its genre. For instance, a long narrative poem that recounts the adventures of a hero constitutes an epic while a formal speech in praise of a person or thing constitutes a tribute. (Fiero, 2011) Conclusion The humanities today gives you the capacity to interpret ideas, a greater creativity, the ability to analyze things from different perspectives, the development of a richer understanding of other people’s feelings and experiences as well as human nature, the ability to listen and think, and how to engage with expressing oneself. HUMANITIES TODAY 6 References Bartholomew, K. & Locher, M. , University of Utah (2007).
People & Place: Humanities-based Pedagogy in Architecture and Planning. Retrieved from http://faculty. arch. utah. edu/bartholomew/Bartholomew_Locher. pdf Behling, D. , Huffington Post (2012). On Studying the Humanities: What Does it Mean to be Human? Retrieved from http://www. huffingtonpost. com/david-behling/humanities- majors_b_1569600. html? Fiero, G. , (2011). The Humanistic Tradition, Book 3: The European Renaissance, The Reformation, and The Global Encounter.
McGraw-Hill, New York, NY. Music Empowers Foundation (2015). Why Music? Retrieved from http://musicempowersfoundation. org/why-music The Ohio Humanities Council (2015). What Are The Humanities? Retrieved from http://www. units. miamioh. edu/technologyandhumanities/humanitiesdefinition. htm University of South Florida. College of Arts and Sciences (2014). What is Humanities? Retrieved from http://humanities. usf. edu/undergraduate/ba/ Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia (2015). The Arts and Politics. Retrieved from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/The_arts_and_politics.
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