Oct. 18, 2020: National Humanities Month
The humanities are generally defined as the branches of learning that have a cultural character. Any subject that covers, in some way, human culture. This includes art, music, the history of art, classics, history, literature, performing arts, philosophy, theology and even anthropology.
The humanities are the things that make us human, that give us a culture, and that set us apart from other species. As writers, the humanities are central to the work we do. They ARE the work we do.
The National Humanities Center in North Carolina has embarked on a journey to capture people’s Humanities Moments. “Those moments when our lives were made richer, more poignant, and meaningful because of the insights the humanities provide.”
In 2018 when I served on the Teacher Advisory Board of the National Humanities Center, I had the opportunity to see up close the beginning stages of this undertaking. Now, several years into the project, the collection is continuing to grow. Essays, photos, videos, artwork. People’s submissions can take a variety of modes and all are powerful, insightful, and thought-provoking. Some will make you laugh. Some will make you cry.
There are many well-known and influential people who have submitted their humanities moments. University presidents, film makers, actors, musicians, authors, and artists. There are also scores of regular Americans. Teachers, students, parents and grandparents. It is turning into a rich and varied collection of what it means to be human.
Take some time this month to contemplate the role the humanities have played in your life and perhaps think about submitting your Humanities Moment.