In the broadest terms, the humanities are allow us to better understand the conceptual schemes of the past and present, rather than how things work through primarily qualitative information.
To clarify, I will use the example of the sciences that we discussed in Unit 2; since we were discussing ancient scientists’ frames of thinking, the justifications behind them, and how their ideas affected their time more so than the mechanics of their specific theories. For this reason, I consider the scientific subjects as we discussed them in class as part of the humanities.
In addition, the texts we discussed in Units 1, 3, and 4 are part of the humanities because they discuss and attempt to explain history. In summary, other fields are the “who,” “what,” “when,” and “where,” and humanities are the “why” and “how.”
I feel like the goal of the Humanities class is to emphasize the “whys” and “hows,” and prompt more critical thinking in that direction.
Another thing I’ve realized about the humanities is that they’re all about context. Over the course of the quarantine, some other humesters and I have been passing along a journal. We each contribute a little bit, talking about what we’ve been doing, the things going on around us, or just random things. People have included pictures, poems, letters, and other creations, along with general reassuring words.
I think that this is the epitome of what humanities is. All of these things were created in the context of the quarantine, and therefore, can’t be removed from that context. This is similar to Ewington’s unit; literature written during Stalin’s terror is impossible to extricate from this context. Literature written during the Civil Rights movement cannot be separated from that context either, as per Wills’ unit.
Therefore, I believe that the humanities are facts or ideas defined by their contexts. Things like scientific facts and mathematic equations exist independent of their original context, and that is the way they are taught. That is impossible with the humanities.