This paper discusses the definition of humanities and differentiate between the humanities and other modes of human inquiry and expression. It also includes examples that reflect current developments in politics, socioeconomics, and examples in the following types of humanities; art, music, architecture, philosophy, and literature. Defining Humanities The humanities can be defined as knowledge that investigates the human experience, and studies human culture, such as the arts, literature, philosophy, history, including other human endeavors.
Gaining knowledge from others’ records of the human experience offers us the opportunity to feel a connection to other cultures and to those from the past, as well as with our contemporaries (Stanford University, 2015). Modes of Human Inquiry and Expression The difference between the visualization of humanity and the practical application of humanity is the understanding of the critical observation of what humanity should be as opposed to what humanity is. In other words, they focus on ideas and values, not just the creation or outcome of an action.
Other modes of human inquiry include the study of non-human subjects like in mathematics or natural sciences and do not have much to do with the creative human endeavors. The humanities are committed to studying the aspects of the human condition using a qualitative approach that normally prevent a single paradigm from defining any discipline. Some studies included in humanities can also be regarded as social sciences in other studies that include; communications, cultural studies, archaeology, and history. Examples of the Humanities HUMANITIES TODAY 3 Humanities are the experiences of the human being that can be visual, audible, and even felt by touch.
They can be expressed through art, music, architecture, philosophy, and literature. Art Art include paintings, photography, sculptures, and architecture. The artist can express their emotions, cultural ideals, even political views through their work. There are many classic artists such as Michelangelo who are well renowned which will continue centuries after their time. Artists, like Michelangelo, were commissioned to produce for organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church (Drake, 2008). Michelangelo viewed himself as a sculptor and quite reluctantly took on the task of painting the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel.
No doubt there was a political agenda and at one point Michelangelo was accused of being a heretic because his work reflected disturbing, past events by the church. A contemporary example would be pop artist Andy Warhol. Beginning in the late 1970’s, Warhol created paintings that were abstract, which is an example of how humans have the ability to think conceptually. Now, art can be digitally mass-produced and distributed which creates a large market for sales and profits, although not necessarily for the artist. Music Music is a common form of expression used to communicate current trends, politics, technology and socioeconomics.
The most common genre of music today that expresses all of these messages is hip-hop music. Specifically “Gangsta rap represents part of a larger focus on hip hop and politics that is popular within the media and among scholarly research and the prominence of gangsta rap in the late 1980s and early 1990s prompted the association between hip hop and violence that contemporary social scientists theorize” (Gilliam, 2007). Architecture HUMANITIES TODAY 4 There are several different methods within modernism style of architecture. The modernist style looks for function rather than trying to reproduce the natural environment.
There are several forms within the modernism style they include: structuralism, formalism, Bauhaus, the international style, brutalism, and minimalism. The features of modernism includes the fact there is little embellishment or decoration, man-made supplies are used (metal and concrete). Architects in the 20th century include I. M. Pei. In the Early Twentieth-Century modern architects used materials such as ferroconcrete and structural steel in conjunction with the cantilever to build beautiful ensembles. Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959), was one of the first American architects of world significance.
He introduced a new style. He combined the new technology of steel and glass with the aesthetic principles of Asian architecture [ (Fiero, 2006) ]. In 1909 Wright completed the Robie House in Chicago. This marked the beginning of a long career creating memorable masterpieces. Today most of these techniques have inspired many of the current styles enjoyed by millions. Philosophy Philosophy is defined as a “comprehensive system of ideas about human nature and the nature of the reality we live in and is a guide for living, because the issues it addresses are basic and pervasive, determining the course we take in life and how we treat other people” (Thomas, 2005).
Major philosophers of the 20th century include Carl Jung, Albert Camus, and Bertrand Russell. Literature Literature provides readers a written composition comprised of current or previous cultural issues. According to the Department of State’s website “Social and economic advances have enabled previously underrepresented groups to express themselves more fully, while HUMANITIES TODAY 5 technological innovations have created a fast-moving public forum” (U. S. Department of State, 2007).
One example of a current piece of literature is the novel, The Kite Runner. The book was written by Khaled Hosseini and “tells of childhood friends in Kabul separated by the rule of the Taliban” (U. S. Department of State, 2007) Conclusion The study of humanities is an ever changing journey. Humanities will changes with the questions and expression about every generation to come. Humanities are unique in that a quest for the purpose and meaning of the human life is being sought. As time goes on, the study of humanities will be become broader, taking with it all the questions of yesterday.
HUMANITIES TODAY 6 References Drake, C. (2008, November). Did Michelangelo have a hidden agenda? The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www. wsj. com/articles/SB122661765227326251 Fiero, G. K. (2011). The Humanistic Tradition Book 3: The European Renaissance, The Reformation, and Global Encounter. McGraw-Hill 6e Stanford University. (2015). Home of the Human Experience. Stanford University, Stanford, California. Retrieved from http://shc. stanford. edu/ Thomas, W. (2005). What is philosophy? Retrieved from http://objectivistcenter. org/cth–409- FAQ_Philosophy. aspx.
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