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Why Does An Education In The Humanities Matter?

October 18, 2007

This is why. Go half-way down the page to the box of links on the left, subtitled “More On This Article.” These two, here and here, really got me. Even though I grew up with this threat, the numbers are still horrific.

I understand if you think I’m being melodramatic. Aren’t readers and writers of posts like this safely tucked away in snug homes, coffee shops, and offices around the country (and the world)?

But seriously, even us historians can help prevent the potential disasters outlined in the links above. How? First, not enough people realize the importance of teaching history in the context of the humanities. It is easy to forget what learning history can potentially mean for our students. For instance, history teaches empathy—the ability to consider another situation, outside of yourself, in all its beautiful and horrible complexity. As long as we instructors foster the application of that ability to the people around us, we’re helping. I know this sounds slippery-slope fallacious, but I’ll say it anyway: Teaching the humanities will help prevent nuclear disasters. – TL

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