This is the moment. This is the time when the Humanities matter most, and are seen to matter most.
2020 is a completely overwritten disaster movie of a year. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming, and it’s difficult to see the point of many of the activities that we would normally pursue (even if we could pursue them, which is questionable during a pandemic).
What does matter is the human aspect of everything we’re going through together. We need to consider history and culture honestly and effectively in order to understand the forces at work in our communities and globally. We need empathy and assessment, involvement and investment in our fellow beings and our collective future; we need to be able to speak to each other, and listen to each other; we need art and music and literature to help us understand and cope.
We need stories. We need our own stories and other people’s stories, and we need to see where they come from and why they matter.
This is the job of the Humanities: We ask the questions about what matters and what it means. We interpret and amplify stories. We examine and assess values – and some of them we reject and replace. We fill the greatest human needs.
There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and many demands on your time and attention. Attending university is always a challenge, and this year more than usual. But it’s also more important than ever before. We can’t claim it will be easy, but we can promise that we’re in it together. And you’ll be prepared to understand and intervene where you’re needed most.
Join us to work on improving the world.
Carol U. Merriam, PhD
Dean, Faculty of Humanities