The humanities are the study of how people process and document the human experience. This study is typically performed by using the fields of philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history and language to better understand the human condition. These modes of expression have become some of the subjects that traditionally fall under the humanities umbrella.
The specific disciplines of the humanities explore the heart of the human experience by encouraging reflection on its nature and value and by encompassing time-tested methods of inquiry – dialogue, historical and logical analysis, critical interpretation and scholarly investigation. The humanities are ways of thinking about what is human about our diverse histories, values, ideas, words and dreams. They help to shape individuality and community, and thus pose fundamental questions about the past, present and future.
The humanities inspire us to ask who we are and what our lives should mean. They ask us to place ourselves in the worldwide context of humankind and to understand commonalities and differences. It goes without saying, but the humanities serve as a vehicle to infuse one’s day-to-day life with humanistic knowledge are found almost anywhere – the architecture of a building, a painting in a museum, a movie, a poem, or thought about the meaning of life – either way it is a shared human experience that defines the humanities.