Definition of the humanities (subject matter):
What is the humanities ? When initially approaching this subject, one would expect the humanities to encompass the ideas of the typical Western Cannon school of thought. A tradition that has been passed down from Socrates, to Danté, to Kante. Yet, the focused attention on Western narratives, of those who have historically been in power and of influence, reflects a shortcoming of the humanities itself. The humanities is the art of narrative. It is the collection of stories from people and thinkers from all backgrounds, combined to create a mosaic that is both pluralistic yet embodying common themes.
Definition of the Humanities (the discipline):
As a discipline, Humanities covers an enormous range of topics and discussions. Herein lies the central tension of the Humanities which is whose voices do we choose to listen to. The best way to solve this conflict is by using an intersectional approach. This approach attempts to reduce everything down into separate structures in order to understand how all of them interact. The Humanities program at Davidson took a similar approach this year. We learned about revolution through a variety of different subjects and lenses. This included voices from the Western canon, but more importantly it allowed for us to hear from those who are historically underrepresented. By seeing how the human experience encompasses such a wide range of peoples and topics, I learned that the Humanities should never be a monolithic discussion. The voices of the Ainu people, Hutus, Tutsi, and RAF members must also be included. All sides of the story must be told. The purpose of the Humanities is to share the voices of all different kinds of people, such that the common truth from each testimony can bubble up to the surface.