What are the Humanities?

Vitruvian Man

The Humanities are academic and artistic disciplines that focus on fundamental questions of human existence and the many ways in which they have been answered both by individuals and entire cultures:

“Who are we?” “What is the nature of the world we live in?”
“What are the meaning and purpose of human existence?”
“Why do we suffer?” “What is happiness?” “How should we live?"

Explore the world’s cultures and you’ll discover that human beings have grappled with questions like these since the dawn of civilization. Their most insightful and compelling answers are found in literature, the visual arts, music, drama, religions, philosophy, and the writing and interpretation of history. Renaissance thinkers called these forms of inquiry and expression the studia humanitatis (“studies of humanity”). Today, we call them the Humanities.