What Is the Field of Humanities?
The field of humanities includes studies that qualitatively, rather than quantitatively, investigate the human experience. Some scholars feel that the humanities address the central questions of human life. This article will attempt to list those studies and describe some of those questions.
The Field of the Humanities
Science and mathematics may be said to employ objective and empirical methods to investigate the natural world. In contrast, the humanities are studies that use subjective and rational methods to investigate the human world. The tools of the humanities are not controlled experiments and precise measurement; they are rational analysis, emotional insight and imagination.
Important Facts about the Humanities Field
|Degrees||Fashion; Art; Geography; English; Philosophy; History|
|Common Courses||Classical Studies; English; Interior Design; History; Pychology; Political Science|
|Possible Careers||College Professor; Editor; Historian; Oceanographer; Anthropologist|
|Prerequisites||General Psychology; Introductory History; Introduction to Political Theory|
|Median Salary (2018)||$78,470 (Postsecondary Teachers)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||15% (Postsecondary Teachers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Questions Addressed by the Humanities
A field of study in humanities often includes questions that many have contemplated and attempted to answer. Here are some questions which the humanities might address:
- How do human beings behave?
- Why do they behave this way?
- How do human beings interact with each other?
- How do human beings interpret the world around them?
- What kind of political, social and cultural institutions do they form?
Authorities sometimes differ on exactly what subjects should be considered part of the humanities. Almost all of them exclude science and mathematics. Some include all or most of the social sciences; others include only those social sciences they feel to be humanistic in content and method. The visual and performing arts are often included in the humanities; in some cases, they're given a separate designation, as in the term, 'arts and humanities'.
Some sources include the classics within the humanities, defining the classics as the foundational literature of earlier civilizations. Additionally, schools now incorporate more contemporary areas, such as African-American, Latino and gender studies into the humanities.
An Official List of the Humanities
According to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the field of humanities includes, but is not limited to, the following subjects:
- Modern languages
- Classical languages
- Comparative religion
- History, criticism and theory of the arts