What do we mean when we say the humanities? What is the history of the humanities? What is the relationship between the humanities, humanism, and “the human”?

Brooks, Peter. “The Humanities as an Export Commodity.” Profession 2008.1 (2008): 33–39.

Proctor, Robert E. “Petrarch and the Origin of the Humanities.” In Defining the Humanities: How Rediscovering a Tradition Can Improve Our Schools: with a Curriculum for Today's Students, 25–58. Second Edition. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1998.  

Celenza, Christopher S. “Humanism and the Classical Tradition.” Annali D’Italianistica 26 (2008): 25–49.

Small, Helen. The Value of the Humanities. (Any chapter, but the introduction and conclusion are especially interesting.


What do we mean when we say “the public”?

Warner, Michael. “Publics and Counterpublics.” Public and Counterpublics. (2002): 65–124.

From The Idea of the Public Sphere: A Reader, Section II: The Public Sphere Rediscovered edited by Jostein Gripsrud, Hallvard Moe, Anders Molander, and Graham Murdoe, 2010.

Arendt, Hannah. “Excerpt from The Human Condition.” pp. 93–113.

Habermas, Jürgen. “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article.” pp. 114–120.

From The Idea of the Public Sphere: A Reader, Section III:

Fraser, Nancy. “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy.” pp. 127–148.


What is the value of the humanities to public life?

Bennett, Jane. The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016, pp. 3–16; 159-174.

Sommer, Doris. The Work of Art in the World. Civic Agency and Public Humanities. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. pp. 3–15; pp. 16–80.

Jay, Gregory. “The Engaged Humanities: Principles and Practices of Public Scholarship and Teaching” (2010). Imagining America. 15.


The additional readings and resources you will find below are also recommended: