About the Center
The Center for Humanities at the University of Rhode Island's current activities include:
- a speaker series
- research grants and fellowships for faculty and graduate students,
- and a newly instituted Spring Humanities Festival
About the Humanities
The idea of the humanities as a distinctive category of knowledge and study has not always been a part of the American educational tradition and still is not common in Europe. It first appeared in the United States early in the twentieth century, but was understood to include only the organized study of Greek and Latin classics. Our contemporary understanding of the humanities only arose in American universities around 1930 to designate a broad category containing diverse branches of learning that differ from the physical, biological, and certain of the social sciences.
As fields of study, the humanities emphasize analysis and exchange of ideas and may be interdisciplinary.
- History, Anthropology, and Archaeology study human, social, political, and cultural developments, as do aspects of the Social Sciences that use historical or philosophical approaches.
- Literature, Languages, and Linguistics, as well as certain approaches to Journalism and Communication Studies, explore how we communicate with each other, and how our ideas and thoughts on the human experience are expressed and interpreted.
- Philosophy, Ethics, and Comparative Religion consider ideas about the meaning of life and the reasons for our thoughts and actions.
- Jurisprudence examines the values and principles which inform our laws.
- Critical and theoretical approaches to and practice of the Arts explore historical or philosophical questions and reflect upon the creative process.
As themes and contents, the humanities are the stories, the ideas, and the words that help us understand our lives and our world. They introduce us to people we have never met, places we have never visited, and ideas that may never have crossed our minds. By showing how others have lived and thought about life, the humanities help us decide what is important and what we can do to make our own life and the lives of others better. By connecting us with other people, the humanities point the way to answers about what is ethical and what is true to our diverse heritage, traditions, and history. They help us address the challenges we face together as families, communities, and nations.
The humanities should not be confused with “humanism,” a specific philosophical belief, nor with “humanitarianism,” the concern for charitable works and social reform.
News and Announcements
The Center for Humanities office is now located at 175G in Swan Hall.
All contact information has remained the same, 401-874-5700!
Humanities Festival 2013, Alumni Panel:
Isaac Mamaysky, '05, Rachel Walshe, '00, Jonathan Hardge, '94
For Video Click Here!
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