Ourselves and Our World

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Sensational headlines declaiming the death of the humanities often misunderstand what the humanities actually are. Paul A. Kottman explains that the practice of analyzing texts doesn’t just teach us how to think; it creates new ways of thinking:

Whatever we learn by reflecting on literary texts in our teaching is the direct outcome of those very same activities. The distinctiveness of humanistic education is that they are constantly transforming ways in which, over time, we express new self-conceptions, make value-judgments, and overcome prior understandings of ourselves and our world in favor of new ones.


Roxie Pell is a student at Wesleyan University, where she writes for Wesleying and The Argus and tweets hilarious nuggets of pure wisdom @jonathnfranzen. More from this author →