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What are the different branches of humanities?

The different branches of humanities include literature, art, music, philosophy, history,
religion and language. People use the humanities to document and explore the human
experience, and there are further branches that intersect with the scientific world.

While some believe the fine arts like music, art and dance belong in their own category,
a lot also categorize them as part of the humanities. The branches of humanities can
therefore be defined as literature, history, languages, religion, philosophy, music, art and
dance. Each of these subjects studies the human experience and constructs, as
opposed to natural processes.
In the course of exploring the human experience, each humanities branch looks into
consciousness, ideas, ideals and values. In many of the humanities, especially literature
and history, written texts are important. Historians are especially likely to use written
work to document and explore events from different perspectives.
In other branches, such as art and dance, visual media is important. This includes
historic paintings, engravings and sculptures, through to modern media like film and
cartoons. Some may also include music in the humanities. In addition, there are further
branches of humanities that intersect with science, such as medical humanities. Medical
humanities attempt to explore medicine from a human perspective, with a particularly
large emphasis on historical accounts. The aim of medical humanities is to encourage
self-reflection and empathy.
Do you think much of your answer can apply to contemporary art today? Or is the impact
completely different? I think that the key ideas explored by Modernism that you wrote about,
while novel at the time seem like the standard for much of art now and specifically akin to
the school of thought of many young people today.

The arts and the humanities draw upon a range of intelligences and
learning styles. Experts believe that people do not possess a single
general intelligence, but several different kinds: linguistic,
musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic,
interpersonal and intrapersonal.2 Schools by and large focus on
linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences. In so doing,
America's educational institutions may consign many children to under-

achievement and failure. As eminent psychologist Howard Gardner

notes, "[S]tudents with strengths in the spatial, musical, or personal
spheres may find school far more demanding than students who happen to
possess the "text-friendly" blend of linguistic and logical
The arts and the humanities provide children with different ways to
process cognitive information and express their own knowledge.
Using processes different from traditional approaches, the arts and
humanities provide children with unique methods for developing
skills and organizing knowledge. Each arts and humanities
discipline has its own distinct symbol system, whether it is
nonverbal, as with music or dance, or uses language in a particular
way, as with creative writing or oral history. Exposure to these
alternate systems of symbols engages the mind, requiring analysis,
synthesis, evaluation and application.
The arts have the potential to enhance academic performance. The
arts give youngsters a richer reservoir of information upon which
to draw in pursuing other subjects, such as reading, writing,
mathematics and history. "Drawing helps writing. Song and poetry
make facts memorable. Drama makes history more vivid and real.
Creative movement makes processes understandable."
By honing nonverbal skills such as perception, imagination and
creativity, the arts also develop vocabulary, metaphorical language,
observation and critical thinking skills. The elements of sound,
movement, space, line, shape and color are all concepts related to
other subject areas such as math and science. The concepts taught
in the arts permeate other scholastic disciplines, and a child's
comprehension of an artistic concept can extend across the
academic curriculum.
Furthermore, the teaching methods used in many arts and
humanities programs provide alternative approaches to learning.
For example, some children can process and retain information
more effectively when they learn by doing, engage in apprenticelike relationships and use technology such as in computer graphics
and videography.
The arts and the humanities spur and deepen the development of

creativity. By their very nature, the arts and the humanities place a
premium on discovery and innovation, originality and imagination. As
such, they can be powerful vehicles for stimulating creativity in
young people, a valuable trait throughout their lives.
Businesses today increasingly look for workers who can think and
create. Clifford V. Smith, Jr., president of the GE Fund, is typical
when he says, "Developing business leaders starts in school. Not in
assembly-line schooling, but rather through the dynamic processes
that the arts-in-education experience provides."
The arts and the humanities provide critical tools for children and
youth as they move through various developmental stages.
Preschool children, before they are fluent in language, are
powerfully affected by music, visual arts and dance. Preschoolers
can paint, color, mold clay, sing songs, and dance in order to
convey feelings and ideas. These activities encourage young
children to express themselves and learn through the use of
nonverbal symbols.
The arts and the humanities are a critical part of a complete
education. The true worth of cultural knowledge transcends any of
its specific applications.
We understand the history of humanity through art.
Why are you a strong advocate for the arts?
Most of us consider the arts to include the literary arts: fiction, creative nonfiction,
essays and poetry; the performing arts, such as dance, theater and film; and the
visual arts, which include painting, sculpture, mixed media and installation art.
The arts encompass a broader spectrum of our lives.
We challenge our students to develop life-long skills such as analytical thinking,
clarity in written and spoken expression, collaboration, and creativity. These skills
can all be developed through the arts and are valuable in any career.

Would you elaborate?

A lot of what artists do is tell stories. They help us make sense of our world, and
they broaden our experience and understanding. The arts enable us to imagine
the unimaginable, and to connect us to the past, the present, and the future,
sometimes simultaneously.