Humanities are academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. In the Renaissance, the term contrasted with divinity and referred to what is now called classics, the main area of secular study in universities at the time. Today, the humanities are more frequently contrasted with natural, and sometimes social sciences, as well as professional training. The humanities use methods that are primarily critical, or speculative, and have a significant historical element - as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences, yet, unlike the sciences, it has no central discipline. The humanities include the study of ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, history, human geography, law, politics, religion, and art. Scholars in the humanities are "humanity scholars" or humanists. The term "humanist" also describes the philosophical position of humanism, which some "antihumanist" scholars in the humanities reject. The Renaissance scholars and artists were also called humanists. Some secondary schools offer humanities classes usually consisting of literature, global studies and art. Human disciplines like history, folkloristics, and cultural anthropology study subject matters that the manipulative experimental method does not apply to - and instead mainly use the comparative method and comparative research.
The Humanities Indicators is a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that equips researchers and policymakers, universities, foundations, museums, libraries, humanities councils and other public institutions with statistical tools for answering basic questions about primary and secondary humanities education, undergraduate and graduate education in the humanities, the humanities workforce, levels and sources of program funding, public understanding and impact of the humanities, and other areas of concern in the humanities community. Data from the Humanities Indicators has been widely discussed in recent conversations about a "crisis in the humanities", in light of a national decline in the number of college majors. To address questions about the workforce outcomes of humanities graduates which are often cited as playing a role in the falling number of majors as of 2015, the Indicators issued The State of the Humanities 2018: Graduates in the Workforce & Beyond, which examined not only their employment and earnings relative to other fields, but also graduates’ satisfaction with their work after graduation and their lives more generally. The data reveal that despite disparities in median earnings, humanities majors are quite similar to graduates from other fields with respect to their perceived well-being. The report was widely cited in the media as an important intervention in the discussion.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the humanities: Humanities – academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences.
Anthropology is the scientific study of humans, human behavior and societies in the past and present. Social anthropology studies patterns of behaviour and cultural anthropology studies cultural meaning, including norms and values. Linguistic anthropology studies how language influences social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans. Archaeology, which studies human activity through investigation of physical evidence, is thought of as a branch of anthropology in the United States and Canada, while in Europe, it is viewed as a discipline in its own right or grouped under other related disciplines, such as history.
Area studies are interdisciplinary fields of research and scholarship pertaining to particular geographical, national/federal, or cultural regions. The term exists primarily as a general description for what are, in the practice of scholarship, many heterogeneous fields of research, encompassing both the social sciences and the humanities. Typical area study programs involve international relations, strategic studies, history, political science, political economy, cultural studies, languages, geography, literature, and other related disciplines. In contrast to cultural studies, area studies often include diaspora and emigration from the area.
Art history is the study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts; that is genre, design, format, and style. The study includes painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, furniture, and other decorative objects. Art history is the history of different groups of people and their culture represented throughout their artwork. Art historians compare different time periods in art history. Such as a comparison to Medieval Art to Renaissance Art. This history of cultures is shown in their art work in different forms. Art can be shown by attire, architecture, religion, sports. Or more visual pieces of art such as paintings, drawings, sculptures. As a term, art history its product being history of art encompasses several methods of studying the visual arts; in common usage referring to works of art and architecture. Aspects of the discipline overlap. As the art historian Ernst Gombrich once observed, "the field of art history much like Caesars Gaul, divided in three parts inhabited by three different, though not necessarily hostile tribes: i the connoisseurs, ii the critics, and iii the academic art historians". As a discipline, art history is distinguished from art criticism, which is concerned with establishing a relative artistic value upon individual works with respect to others of comparable style, or sanctioning an entire style or movement; and art theory or "philosophy of art", which is concerned with the fundamental nature of art. One branch of this area of study is aesthetics, which includes investigating the enigma of the sublime and determining the essence of beauty. Technically, art history is not these things, because the art historian uses historical method to answer the questions: How did the artist come to create the work?, Who were the patrons?, Who were his or her teachers?, Who was the audience?, Who were his or her disciples?, What historical forces shaped the artists oeuvre, and how did he or she and the creation, in turn, affect the course of artistic, political, and social events? It is, however, questionable whether many questions of this kind can be answered satisfactorily without also considering basic questions about the nature of art. The current disciplinary gap between art history and the philosophy of art aesthetics often hinders this inquiry. Art history is not only a biographical endeavor. Art historians often root their studies in the scrutiny of individual objects. They thus attempt to answer in historically specific ways, questions such as: What are key features of this style?, What meaning did this object convey?, How does it function visually?, Did the artist meet their goals well?, What symbols are involved?, and Does it function discursively? The historical backbone of the discipline is a celebratory chronology of creations commissioned by public or religious bodies or wealthy individuals in western Europe. Such a "canon" remains prominent, as indicated by the selection of objects present in art history textbooks. Nonetheless, since the 20th century there has been an effort to re-define the discipline to be more inclusive of non-Western art, art made by women, and vernacular creativity.
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