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Reflecting on the Humanities and Arts

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Reflecting on the Humanities and Arts

Image courtesy of altoona.psu.edu

Image courtesy of altoona.psu.edu

Image courtesy of altoona.psu.edu

Image courtesy of altoona.psu.edu

Tylyn Johnson, Chief Editor

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The humanities make up an academic field of study concerned with how people document and interpret the human experience. Meanwhile, the arts take this understanding of the human experience—along with a bit of creativity and imagination—and express it in a form for others to encounter and react to. The work done in the humanities and arts has actually been key to understanding the cultural evolution(s) of humanity, and how we might continue to develop.

If we were to follow the definition as provided by International Baccalaureate, history is the study of past events and consider their importance to current events today, often as a backdrop or in comparison. This field of study uses evidence from written accounts and recordings, among others, to formulate the grand human story that is being made as you read this article.

Interested in analysing the nature of existence and going further that your Theory of Knowledge class might? Philosophy is probably the course for you. This academic field includes epistemology and meta-cognition, ethics, logical systems, and so much more. Through this course of study, a hardened ability to gauge perspectives and (cultural) context may be developed.

Obviously enough, religion reviews the development of belief systems such as Christianity and Hinduism in the grand scheme of the human story. Naturally, one could expect a close reading of the core literature of these belief systems, but this area of knowledge goes beyond this. In studying the development of these belief systems, one will find out how said beliefs arose in their respective contexts, and how much these belief systems have influenced the course of history.

Literature is akin to a further dive in the English courses most students are used to; textual analysis, impact of written works like novels, poetry, and essays, as well as the cultural context under which the piece(s) studied was (were) developed. In critiquing and appreciating the written works that have been developed over the years, one could say that this field inspired the scientific study of language, linguistics, being that the trends in the language used in literature acts as a guide to how language(s) develop and evolve over the course of human history.

The performing arts work to entertain audiences with live, if not recordable, performances that evoke the use of one’s coordination in order to evoke an instant response from the audience; be that joining in, gasping, or even finding inspiration in it. More often than not, the forms used in the performing arts can easily blend into that of the following field of study, however unappreciated it may be. Dancetheatre, and music remain the growing, popular disciplines within this field.

The visual arts are so massive in the options available with which one could articulate any message; emotional, political, social, that to try to define an ever-expanding list here would do it an injustice. However, Wikipedia’s page provides an impressive list of mediums used for those interested in pursuing a greater understanding of this field, especially in schools facing budget constraints.

Compared to other fields of knowledge, the humanities and arts are much more difficult to apply in a very specific manner. This is because these fields seek to understand and express the human experience, which in and of itself is an ambitious goal. Meanwhile, fields such as the natural and social sciences seek to understand the their subjects and apply the newfound knowledge for the advancement of humanity. Even still, the humanities and arts continue to have substantial impacts on the development of perspectives by human beings.

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