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Interdisciplinary Humanities: Ancient and Modern
"A Klee painting named 'Angelus Novus' shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress." (Walter Benjamin, 1940)
Interdisciplinary Studies Major Concentration in Interdisciplinary Humanities: Ancient and Modern
Interdisciplinary Humanities: Ancient and Modern provides a cross-cultural, cross-historical exposure to the Humanities for students interested in obtaining a globally themed liberal arts education. With geographical, thematic, and chronological breadth in the history of ideas, literature, language, art, religion, and archaeology, Interdisciplinary Humanities gives special attention to the intersections between ancient and modern modes of thought in each of these topic areas.
This concentration also provides an opportunity for intensive training in critical skills (reading, writing, logic, rhetoric, literary, artistic, and historical analysis), and so offers excellent preparation for all of the liberal professions (journalism, law, teaching, diplomacy, etc.). It also offers an attractive minor for STEM majors wishing to complement technical training with a humanistic education.
The humanities have always been dedicated to the deepening of self-awareness, both of individuals and of communities, through a study of literature, philosophy, history, language, and the arts. Interdisciplinary Humanities thus draws together the expertise of the Departments of Classics, English, Philosophy, World Languages, Sociology-Anthropology, Afro-American Studies, History, and others, for an interdisciplinary study of all these aspects of human culture, from the ancient civilizations of Egypt, ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome, up through and including Modernism and Afro-Modernity. The value of the humanities in modern society is often questioned. But while science and technologies improve our lives, it is the humanities that make life worth living.
Tam ars sine scientia quam scientia sine arte nihil est.