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Arts (Humanities)

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The Teaching of the Arts and Humanities at Sri Arvind Mahila College Mapping the Future

A culture of the Humanities enables us, that is, satisfyingly to describe, and thereby give precise voice to, sets, and subsets, of our most vital emotional and cognitive experience. All of us, whether we know it or not, have habitual recourse to the language of art criticism and philosophy because art and philosophy are “where the meanings are” (or at least a good deal of them!); the terms of art and philosophy are the irreplaceable,companionable forms to our articulate reception of the world, without which we fall painfully mute.

Of course different teachers of the Humanities will give priority to differing elements in this nexus of practices. This document, indeed, will articulate distinguishable traditions of Humanities scholarship more precisely below. We start, however, simply by underscoring the activity of humanists as variously receptive, critical and constructive. This is a deeply satisfying, passionate pedagogic enterprise (for both teachers and students), whose dynamism derives from the relation between the private study, the communal classroom and the world beyond.

The need to underscore this nexus of illuminating reception and constructive evaluation by the Arts and the Humanities is all the more urgent given the historical moment we face, a moment characterized by economic, military, ecological, religious and technologicalchallenges of mighty profile. We therefore judge re-articulation of the extraordinary promise of the Humanities to be timely. Our students are preparing to act adroitly in a global environment; they are also preparing to flourish in an austere job market. The Arts and the Humanities are essential on both inter related fronts, cultural and personal. This document offers such an articulation. We begin by focusing, however, on a prior and more immediate challenge, which is the troubled status of the Humanities themselves in this new environment.

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