The humanities form the foundation for the liberal arts and investigate fundamental questions of the human condition: who are we and how ought we to live? These disciplines cultivate our capacities for keen observation, aesthetic appreciation, and clarity in speech and thought. They help us to understand the minds and cultures of others and to engage respectfully in conversations about contested questions. The humanities help us to remember the human past, develop our judgment, and sharpen our moral and aesthetic sensitivity. Engaging the emotions as well as the intellect, the humanities enlarge our imaginations, foster self-understanding, and open the way to tolerance and courage, humility and wisdom. Because the grand challenges that confront us presuppose basic questions of who we are and how we ought to live, the humanities are relevant for every significant project in which we engage.
A highly-ranked liberal arts institution, Furman is home to eight thriving humanities departments: Asian studies, classics, communication studies, English, history, modern languages and literatures, philosophy, and religion. Key faculty in other departments take humanistic approaches to their work. In addition, several of Furman’s interdisciplinary minors draw heavily upon humanities expertise.
Study of the humanities fulfills the promises of The Furman Advantage, preparing students for flourishing lives, successful careers, and responsible citizenship. In an unpredictable, rapidly changing political, cultural, and economic landscape, the practical and intellectual virtues the humanities cultivate are crucial preparation for life. Patient reflection, aesthetic and moral discernment, and judgment rooted in hard-won knowledge and conveyed with eloquence to others have never been more necessary for our individual and common endeavors.
History of The FHC
The dream for a Furman Humanities Center (FHC) first came to be a number of years ago. With innovative research and curriculum across the humanities disciplines, faculty members wanted a way to coordinate, collaborate and celebrate. There was a growing need for innovative programs to foster student learning and research in the humanities. And with community engagement opportunities, the time was right for a center to foster public-facing work in the humanities. During the 2017–18 academic year, two faculty members independently approached the dean of faculty with proposals for a Furman Humanities Center. The time was right to launch the Center. In Fall 2018, an ad hoc committee of faculty and staff members was formed to research and write a proposal for the Furman Humanities Center. After extensive input from the campus community, this group finalized and submitted their proposal to the dean of faculty and provost in December 2018. After follow-up conversations with humanities department chairs and others in Spring 2019, the Furman Humanities Center was ready to become a reality.