What is the value of studying the humanities in a business or technical curriculum? How might a topic such as ancient art enhance contemporary life?

Professor and Class,


      Professor and Class, 

      I am a big believer in knowledge is power, and at first sight you may not think art is important to techie people, but look back on art, the meaning, the values within it, and techie people can use that knowledge in something as simple as creating a website. Using not only the actual art itself but also the influence of it, playing their website design off of the values expressed by those they are creating it for. The more they understand about the literature, the better they can create a blog and write something that is easily and enjoyably read. 


       Hello Professor Ford, 

      I know many techie types and would agree that they are often more detailed. Working both sides of the brain is helpful to all people in any field. I believe that it is important to keep an opened mind. By doing this, a person can learn and gain knowledge in many areas which will help the individual in their career and in their personal life. 

      Melissa Gilliland 

      Hello Professor Ford,

      I can see why you mention that technologically oriented people make ideal students of literature, art and philosophy. I think that the personality that gravitates towards the field of technology tend to be people who are detail oriented and often the type that likes to think "outside of the box". 

      As to the thought of when will I use humanities in life? I think that we use it everyday. It's all around us. It is the human experience from where we have been in the study of the past to where we are move towards into the future. 

      Collapse SubdiscussionBarbara Lahens

      Barbara Lahens

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        Professor and Class,

      There is a threat to the perceived value of the humanities in the culture at large. This manifest itself in two ways: reduced public support for humanities research, and students being steered away from studying the humanities in university. Criticism from those who say ‘tell us why we should invest resources in humanities education, why parent should spend good money to have their children study literature, art or why the state should subsidize degrees in philosophy. Science and engineering degrees can be viewed as effective ways of getting jobs and we (as a country) need more scientists and engineers, but what is a degree in cultural anthropology worth?’ Frankly, I don’t see why should the humanities have to justify themselves to the standards of the sciences any more than scientific values have to justify themselves by the standards of the humanities? You might make more money as an engineer, but you will be culturally illiterate, historically ignorant, and un-insightful. To me the humanities are not a pleasurable diversion that ought to be valued as entertainment. Humanities give us ‘culture’ and culture is what is left when all is forgotten.


      1. Ismael, J. Why science will never replace the humanities: Philosophy talk produced by KLAW on behalf of Stanford University. 
        Megan Lesniak

        Megan Lesniak

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        Hi, Barbara

        Your post caught my attention and I thank you for that.  I am a student who knows very little about Humanities and what it entails (why I decided to take this class).  I feel that there are many prerequisites that would benefit many students of all ages, although, like Humanities is not encouraged as heavily as other courses. 

        I agree with your viewpoint when expressing the importance of an engineer taking Humanities.  When considering designs and buildings in engineering, understanding Humanities is imperative to respect and understand culture and maintain satisfactory infrastructure.

        Since businessmen and companies co-op with engineers, do you think both parties need to consider some aspects of humanities when collaborating together?

        -Megan Lesniak

        Professor and Class,

        Techies and all other students that are looking to be well rounded and have a better understanding of the world would benefit from the taking of humanities. " More importantly, such an education provides its recipients with the ability and vital ingredients necessary to think critically and holistically about a plethora of issues, including business, science, and technology for that matter"(Watson,2014). Having knowledge of the humanities makes for one to have a better chance for a higher paying job and are sought out more by employers than those applicants that did not study humanities.  Studying of other cultures brings a type of creativity inspired by the history of others.

        Jill Robbins

        Watson, Elwood (2014). Studying the Humanities Always Will Be Important. Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Retrieved fromhttp://diverseeducation.com/article/63927/

         I am an avid reader for pleasure and loved your analogy between a good book taking you to a different place in time and the study humanities having the same effect. I hadn't really thought of that comparison before but it is spot on! I also very much appreciate where you explain the human element which may help us to look beyond ourselves for our own betterment. As a nurse (I'm in the RN-BSN program) this really rings true to me. I very often must put my own self-interests aside in the name of my patients. I also need to have an appreciation of multiple cultures and have a broad world view in order to be truly competent in my profession. I believe the study of humanities will help me in all regards. 


        I have asked some of my friends, their thoughts on their Humanities class. Some had colorful responses but others were more helpful. One said that it helped her to sound more informed when around a certain groups of people and another to be more articulate. They all found what they read was interesting and had never been exposed to it before.

         I found that for me it will be a lot of work reading but certainly will bring out more of the artistic side of me. So far, I have learned many of my classmates are pretty curious, comfortable and expressive about the art that interests them. It appears to be like reading a very interesting book that can take you to another place in time an open up your imagination. It helps to think more about the possibilities of the world. It gets you to think about how creative people who had less access were able to create so much that now centuries later we are still fascinated by their work. There is a human side that it teaches us to look beyond ourselves which may help us do better in our lives overall. We are learning about cultures and how those before us survived and expressed themselves. “A culture encompasses the values and behaviors shared by a group of people, developed over time, and passed down from one generation to the next. (Sayer, 2013, p. 2).


        Sayer, H.M. (2013). Discovering the humanities. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.

         Hello, professor and class,

             My understanding of humanities is about the history of arts, including architecture, painting, and music. Studying humanities helps students appreciate the works of art. When we are appreciating the works, we have to connect the background of the works in order to better understand its meaning and significance. When was it created? Who created it? Why did the artist want to create such an artwork? These questions will motivate us to search for further information about this artwork, culture, and history. As Sayre (2013) stated, “Exploring the humanities will help you develop your ability to look, listen, and read closely, and to analyze, connect, and question” (p. viii).

             I cannot imagine a businessman can be successful without knowledge of arts. If you want to sell your products quickly, you must make your products and shopping environment including a website, attractive. Many businesses do not hesitate to spend millions of dollars on advertisement to increase the sale. All these require a nice design. If you study the humanities, you will have the ability to decide which design will be perfect for your products. Just like a car, although its engine can speed up to 180 miles per hour, consumers will not want to purchase it if its appearance is not attractive.

             Ancient art is the treasure of human societies. It can be inspiring in contemporary life. Human mind is influenced by cultures, values, and beliefs. People do not just create something without meaning. Based on our culture, what we believe is beautiful will be kept or evolve in modern life. Some artists or designers are even inspired by different cultures. For example, some clothing design is considered retro or containing elements from other cultures. To me, it is amazing that ancient art is still connected with contemporary life. When our time becomes ancient time, I believe our artwork will also be considered ancient art and appreciated by our future generations.

         Sayre, H. M. (2013). Discovering the humanities (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.


        I enjoyed reading your post. Businesses do spend a lot of money on advertising. As you have said businesses want to have the most attractive way to show off their product hoping it is the next best thing for everyone to want. Some consumers purchase products to be just like other consumers or to try to “keep up with the Jones”. While other consumers want to be different from everyone else and try different things just to be different. I am sure that when one goes to an art gallery the paintings that are displayed are viewed differently then what the artist had intended. It would be a boring world if we were all the same and had all the same opinions. The studying of humanities is important in order to understand why people are different-different cultures, different ways of thinking, different beliefs.Through studying of the arts such as literary works, dance, theater, film, or visual arts such as paintings or sculptures from the past, one will have a better understanding of where they came from and what the future has in store for them. It will give a better understanding of what is needed in the future and to learn from the past, through the understanding of past theories and traditions ( Stanford University,n.d.). To think outside of the box- being creative and asking questions.

        Jill Robbins

        Stanford University, n.d., Why do the humanities matter? Standford Humanities Center. Retrieved from http://shc.stanford.edu/why-do-humanities-matter#top


        I enjoyed reading your post. I like the your train of thought on this topic. I too believe that we must study old to help us understand their ways of doing things as well as help us learn new ways of doing things. I also believe that what one person finds unattractive another may find beauty within. That car that does 180 may be what attracts a person versus the color or what others may think is beautiful. I would also agree that to sell most products research is needed to see what is appealing to the market the product is geared for. I also believe that if it is a good product it will sell itself. I would also agree that the human mind is influenced by cultures, values, and beliefs. This is evident in who raises us, where we grow up, and even our nationalities. Great post, thanks for sharing.


        It can be wild to think of how far reaching and important the humanities are to us and how they are embedded in different places.  Your reference to the humanities in advertising made me think of these commercials, anyone else?

        https://youtu.be/ubx-6yP-DhQLinks to an external site.


        Very interesting post! You mentioned some great examples. I really liked how you discussed how businessmen use humanities in ways to help with advertising. I never would have thought of that and the correlation with humanities. I agree with what you said about how all of our society is really based upon past events in time. Great Job!

        Hi Camille, 

        Studying about the history of arts gives us a clearer idea of how we evolved into the present date. The process of understanding our race is necessary in order to predict the usual trends of human behavior. Humanities are the only discipline that can actually teach us about the intricacies of the human race and their tendencies and inclinations better. I am in absolute agreement thus with your point where you say that Humanities helps us in being more experienced with human nature. In fact Humanities as well allows us to study about ourselves and understand our mental and physiological processes more rationally.

        Hi Camille,

        I agree with you that ancient art is the treasure of human societies. It enhances our lives by giving us a better understanding of how the history is made, why different cultures are the way they are. We get to see and learn how creative people were in the past and how much changes were made in today’s society. We can learn from their past experiences and build on them to make things better today.

        Gang Zhang

        Hi Camille,

        “Exploring the humanities will help you develop your ability to look, listen, and read closely, and to analyze, connect, and question” (p. viii). That is sentence that I agree with 100%. In the medical field, these characteristics are extremely important. A nurse, you spend the most time with the patient. You not only have to be able to see and analyze a patient but also things like labs and object assessments, you also have to be able to connect those dots and see what the patient is in need of. Class, I do get one question quite frequently - similar to what some students say about math - "but when will I use it in my real life?" :)

        Why should techie types bother to study the humanities? I strongly believe technologically oriented people are the ideal students of literature, art, and philosophy. They bring a different, often more detailed, perspective, and I think working both sides of the brain is ultimately helpful in any field.

        What do you think?

         The word "innovators" found in our lesson 1 reading is really important. It really stuck out to me. Anything accomplished in life has been accomplished by people that care to create. What would we do if people did not create? We all create every day. Simply doing laundry for example. Once a task that included a rock and water, now an innovated machine that is plugged in, piped with water that is soapy, spun, and again water that is un-soapy, spun some more and finally, concluded with the end results of clean clothes. It is people that care to be creative. We all benefit from creativity, whether an engineer, architect, or a play write. These things all bring people together in some way or another. Ha, not sure the washing machine makes sense, but it does to me. The Holy Bible shares a scripture explaining the importance of the body as a whole, "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body" (1 Corinthians 12:12). Our hand, for example, functions so much better with all five fingers, when one is missing, it is not quite as good as it is with all five fingers. We can function, but it is better when all is included. Techies and math-heads are a much needed "member" of the body or mankindThank you so much for your response! I love your comment about reading a good book and going to a different place, I am a big believer in the magic of reading an actual book, and the things you learn from them. I also love your comments about the realization of how creative people could be in a time when modern technologies were not available. They did not have the resources we have today and yet they were so intellectual and had such an incredible creative mind, they were able to create beautiful masterpieces simply by imagination. I wish someday's I could experience their era for a day so I could truly see, enjoy and better understand their thought process and how they developed such an incredible mind set. 

        Hi Katie,

         The study of humanities is helpful in understanding humans better. The statement might seem like an aspect of common sense but its impact is actually heavier than what we can perceive. Knowing the several front of human life and studying it chronologically helps us understand the evolutionary process of our customers better. Even if we all are humans we all have racially and fiscally contrasting stories of evolution. Thus to understand the humans in general it is needed that we study humanity so that we can deal with humans better.

         Hi Katie,

        I completely agree with you that studying humanities in a business or technical curriculum is very valuable to every one of us. I think humanities gives insight into the past just like studying history which would provide many valuable lesson learned information. I also think understanding there are so many different cultures and how that influences people is very important. As stated from our text book (Sayre, 2012), "A culture encompasses the values and behaviors shared by a group of people, developed over time, and passed down from one generation to the next". Being aware of the different aspects of cultures by studying humanities can help find what people value.

        Gang Zhang

         I absolutely agree.  By taking the time to study and learn the progression of the humanities through the years, we are learning about different cultures, different views, experiences, and different portrayals of what they found beautiful.  “For thousands of years people have sought to create objects of beauty and significance- objects we call art- that did more than simply help them survive” (Stokstad & Collins, pg 19, 1999).   Understanding difference and our history provides us with opportunities to learn from others and see things differently.  Many things in life can be improved on by looking to how others may have done them, or incorporating different aspects into our own. 


        Stokstad, M,. Collins, B. R., & Addiss, S. (1999). Art History. New York: H.N. Abrams.

          Hi Katie, 

        I completely agree with you. We may not think of art as something that is important to our lives as far as business and technical is concern but we can learn a lot from art in any profession. Even the medical field benefits from art. A lot of things we use start out as a design that someone came up with. Things as  simple as the Hi/Low bed that is used in the hospital started out as a design that is very valuable today. Art is constantly changing our lives wether we notice it or not

         I feel studying humanities in a business or technical curriculum is incredibly valuable. As we look back in history we can see the effects of people’s actions and inventions and how it either strengthened or hurt our world today. We can approach problems with a more open mind and more information as we look at how others did it in the past and how it worked, or didn’t work.  Ancient art can enhance contemporary life in many ways, not only can we look at the art put into buildings and how buildings from hundreds of years ago are able to stand against time teaching us the value in the way they built them, but also enhancing our understanding of the time and culture. We can better understand their values and beliefs and it allows us a more open-minded concept as we live our lives.

        Katie Lowran

        Hi KatieHi Jean, 


    Holy Bible. 1 Corinthians 12:12 (New International Version) Retrieved from:

    The  Holy Bible

    Hello, professor and class,

       I also often hear the similar complaints. To me, studying math helps our brains analyze and solve problems. People ask when they use math in real life. Actually, they do not realize that they use it all the time. For nurses, calculating time and medication dose is a daily work. Unfortunately, some nurses still struggle with the basic calculation.

       Should technical personnel study literature? Definitely. After they discover or invent something, how are they going to claim their achievement? By publishing an article. Without writing skills, how can they precisely describe the process and convince the public to accept their work?

       I met a plastic surgeon years ago and was surprised to find out he could play violin and draw pictures very well. He said that a plastic surgeon having received education of arts is an artist. This is so true. As professor mentioned, it will be helpful when both sides of brains are working.

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