What are the Humanities...

And Why Do They Matter?

The humanities are our attempt to understand and communicate the human experience through language.

As opposed to arts activities like music or dance, the humanities emphasize the written and spoken word. If you’ve read a book, attended a lecture, written a poem, or discussed a current event, then you’ve participated in the humanities.

Encompassing fields such as history, philosophy, and literature, the humanities provide a space—both literal and figurative—to pause and reflect. They are equally at home in the pages of a scholarly history book, the family stories handed from mother to daughter, or in the nervous words of a young poet at her first open mic.

They help us see the wider view of our lives and our society—a view that is easy to lose amid the mountains of data and unprecedented distractions of modern life. In communities around our state, the humanities strengthen our bonds by allowing us to tell our stories and understand our shared past, present, and future.

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Humanities Washington

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