The Humanities. Brendan RappleLIS413 Summer 2009Simmons College. What are the Humanities?. Those branches of knowledge that concern themselves with human beings and their culture.
Summer 2009Simmons College
“. . . with the development of digitization and the availability of numerous online full-text databases, the possibility of doing research at home, from an 'armchair,' and perhaps unschooled in the rigours of academic research, . . . exists. Libraries and archives that required researchers to schedule appointments, travel to inconvenient locations, and spend endless days researching a topic can now, in many cases, be accessed from a computer, with source materials available online (Sandra Shoiock Roff, 2005)
[There is an] increasing acceptance among humanities scholars that any consciously created human product, any symbolic artifact, is an acceptable object of study. . . .[This] has led to the general position that virtually every symbolic creation must be considered equally worthy of study. Because any publication or human creation can have research potential, humanities scholars – and the information professionals who support them – have become increasingly unwilling and incapable of coming to terms with what should be collected and maintained, and what should not” (Ross Atkinson, LRTS, 1995).
For Cicero, the primary function of education was the inculcation of HUMANITAS:
His ideal of HUMANITAS gives Cicero a right to be regarded as the father of classical humanism and by extension of HUMANITIES as an educational ideal.
Quadrivium:arithmeticgeometryastronomyand music theory
Umanisti: that is, professors or students of classical literature.
The word umanisti derives from the studia humanitatis, a course of classical studies that, in the early 15th century, consisted of grammar, poetry, rhetoric, history, and moral philosophy.
Ideal of Humanism:
"The Business and Design of the Royal Society is: to improve the knowledge of naturall things, and all usefull Arts, Manufactures, Mechanik practices, Engynes and Innovations by Experiments – not meddling with Divinity, Metaphysics, Moralls, Politicks, Grammar, Rhetorick or Logick."
The influence of “leveling” on Humanities:
Classification of Disciplines
A long history
Many classification schemes
Question of a hierarchy of disciplines
English and American Studies
Middle Eastern and African Studies
East and South Asian Studies
Other Languages and Literatures
History and Philosophy of Science
History of Ideas
Classics and Ancient History
History of Art, Architecture, Design
Theology and Religious Studies
Communication and Media Studies
Music and History of Music
Drama and Theatre Studies
Studies of other Performing Arts
“Disciplinarians argue that keeping boundaries between fields of study maintains traditional standards and scholarly excellence. Anti-disciplinarians, on the other hand, believe in the creative influence of disciplinary cross-fertilization and see the salvation of endangered humanities in interdisciplinary collaboration” The Role and Status of the Humanities at AAU Universities.
“Imagine that one summer after graduation ceremonies, we disbanded all of our academic departments in the humanities and told the faculty to come back in the fall organized into bureaucratic and academic configurations of their choice. . . . What would happen?” (Marshall, Liberal Education, 2007)
Arts and Humanities VERSUS
Social & Behavioral Sciences
"The knowledge explosion left us ignorant of vast fields of knowledge that every educated man or woman ought to have known"
New Models of Scholarly Communication
For the Humanities scholar just as much as for the Scientist
Nature of Scholarly Research will also Change
Evan Simpson. “What are the Humanities” (talk at Memorial Univ., 26 Oct. 1999).
Catharine R. Stimpson. Daedalus, Summer 2002 v131 i3 pp. 36 -.
The Role and Status of the Humanities at AAU Universities (2004)
Robert Weisbuch, President, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (1998)