The Humanities comprise the study of subjects that are fundamental to understanding the human experience. How do we grapple with reality and give meaning to our existence? What lessons can be learned from the past? What are our values and beliefs? What are our dreams and fears? How do we communicate these feelings and ideas? What kind of representations do we use to make sense of the world?
The Humanities department at UCU offers courses in History, Philosophy, Media and Performance Studies, Linguistics, Literature & Classics, Religious Studies, Art History/Museum Studies and Languages & Culture. Students gain insight into the different ways humankind throughout the ages, and in different cultures, has tried to come to terms with the nature and meaning of its existence. They acquire the basic skills of humanistic scholarship, such as critical reading, analysis, and interpretation of sources within the relevant cultural historical context, but also the art of reasoning, argumentation and persuasion. It is also about the politics of truth as well as the search for beauty and the analysis of the cultural contexts of it.
The Humanities curriculum creates unique opportunities for students who wish to design an academic program that fruitfully links different fields of study. History, for example, is a must for any serious student of Politics or Law, as it puts their theory and application into context. The Art History/Museum Studies program combines well with Social Science courses in Anthropology and Human Geography, but also with Biology or Chemistry, if the student has a particular interest in the History of Science and/or Conservation Chemistry. Philosophy teaches students how to establish truth and meaning and is indispensable to learn how to reason logically. Literature allows to find beauty in narrative texts that can open a new window onto the world and manage to express the inner self. It teaches students how to master the skill of words and interpret the world through different imaginaries. The Linguistics program offers a Psycholinguistics course that uses paradigms from Psychology for studying linguistics phenomena. Media studies can offer insightful combinations with the studies of politics, anthropology and psychology but also with Science, for example mathematics of neuroscience, exploring how we live in a mediated world, enmeshed in technologies and new forms of connectivity. Students interested in Chinese language and culture can do a minor in China Studies that includes a semester abroad at the University of Hong Kong in China. And to complement the more rational realms of human activities, courses in the Performance studies offer ample opportunities to ‘re-unite the hands, the heart and the head’.