Did you know that over two-thirds of humanities majors get jobs in the private sector? Did you know that almost 60% of U.S. CEOs have degrees in the humanities? Did you know that the humanities receive less than 0.5% of federal research money in the U.S. and only about 1% in Europe?
There’s research on the impact of the humanities; there’s evidence demonstrating how studying the humanities benefits society, employers and individuals.
I’ll list here nine arguments that the humanities are important. While you read them, try to think of what you would fill in as number 10.
- The humanities help us understand others through their languages, histories and cultures.
- They foster social justice and equality.
- And they reveal how people have tried to make moral, spiritual and intellectual sense of the world.
- The humanities teach empathy.
- They teach us to deal critically and logically with subjective, complex, imperfect information.
- And they teach us to weigh evidence skeptically and consider more than one side of every question.
- Humanities students build skills in writing and critical reading.
- The humanities encourage us to think creatively. They teach us to reason about being human and to ask questions about our world.
- The humanities develop informed and critical citizens. Without the humanities, democracy could not flourish.
I believe these claims and I know they are based on solid research. I see much more, too. For example, I think that innovations based on research results in the natural sciences and medicine are more likely to be successful if their implementation is carried out in collaboration with humanists.
But for now, let me just say one more thing. The arguments in the list above are quotes. They come from an exciting infographic put together by some creative researchers working in a whole new field called Digital Humanities.
And that leads me to my 10th reason: If it weren’t for the humanities, we couldn’t have the digital humanities!
What’s your best reason for thinking the humanities are important? If you have one you like, send me a tweet or put it in a comment below, and if I get enough, I’ll include it in a new blog post!
While you’re thinking about that, enjoy a much cooler presentation of the nine reasons the humanities matter — along with many more important numbers, too.