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Arts and Humanities
Arts and humanities is a broad spectrum of academic disciplines that focus on the human condition and life. The focal point is the human species, past and present. The disciplines under the arts and humanities field are interrelated and usually overlapping. The classification of disciplines that falls under the arts and humanities category is continually evolving and changing. Generally though, the following disciplines are recognized to be part of arts and humanities:
- Ancient, medieval, and modern history
- Visual arts
- Performing arts
- English language and other languages
- Communication arts
- Philosophy, law and religious studies
The arts and humanities field is distinct from the social sciences and the natural sciences. But this distinction is not at all clear as all these fields overlap with each other. For example, history is considered by others to be part of the social sciences while others consider it to be strictly arts and humanities. Arts and humanities will also constantly touch on the inventions, tools and equipments of the ancient people and this can be considered to fall under the natural sciences field.
Art studies is a main and vital part of the arts and humanities field. Art is the result and expression of the human condition at the time of the artwork's inception. Art could be the result of study or it could spring from the instinct to create. It can be made for personal enjoyment or for sharing to the public.
Archaeology is the scientific and systematic study of the materials, artifacts and other traces of past human existence. The end view is to find how people of those times lived and existed. By going over all the other disciplines that comprise the arts and humanities field, it should be apparent that the study of arts and humanities has only one purpose: to find more about what defines humanity, then and now.
The ancient Greeks are the originators of the study of arts and humanities courses. It was for the pure pleasure of knowing that a discourse was made. This practice has been modified though carried out by the Romans. The Romans had a pragmatic approach to arts and humanities. They studied these subjects so that they can apply them to daily life. The Renaissance brought about another change of approach to arts and humanities. The Renaissance era was human-focused and so the study of arts and humanities fluorished, even if they were useful to practice or not. And following the trend of the Romans, the postmodernists, when they came, insisted on the study of arts and humanities for the purpose of practicing what was learned.
The study of arts and humanities has been traditionally Western. Thus philosophers studies would usually touch on male Western philosophers. But with the ensuing liberal trend, the postmodernists are insisting that works of non-Western and female philosophers be included in the study of philosophy and in the general arts and humanities field.