Humanities Program

The Humanities at Florida Tech: A Celebration of the Human Condition

 What are the Humanities?

The Humanities are the study of human culture through the study of art, art history, culture, comparitive religion, ethics, history, languages, linguistics, literature, law, and philosophy. The Humanities provide an essential role in enhancing the quality of life and providing students with the necessary tools to interpret the world around them. The Humanities help locate humans within history, creating the necessary context for advanced, analytical decision making. Through the Humanities, we understand our cultural heritage, what it means to be human, and the impact of our actions upon future generations.

The Humanities encourage students to create, analyze, explore, and develop complex ideas and arguments. Students learn how to live life with intentionality and purpose while exploring varied cultures, art history, languages, written works, musical pieces, philosophical arguments, heroes in history, and monsters in literature. Students of the Humanities seek out the fundamental, universal Truths of the human condition—explaining why stories from thousands of years ago remain relevant today.

Students will learn to question why we believe what we believe, and how are beliefs are shaping and transforming the future. The Humanities celebrate human culture and empower scholars to become emerging leaders in humanity.

 

Why the Humanities Matter in the Age of Technology

We are standing on the advent of new a chapter in human history. Humans today possess better technology, instant access to limitless information, and unprecidented ability to travel and communicate across continents. People are living longer lives with the highest literacy rates and access to education ever seen. In the past century, humans walked on the moon, explored the stars, successfully cloned life, created the Internet, and split the atom. Society has an unparalleled level of globalization and the indivudal empowerment of social media allows an instantaneous connection to billions of people. We are reaching heights the ancients could not have fathomed.These advances make the humanities more vital than ever—while we are hurdling into the future with unprecidented speed, we cannot lose sight of the most fundamental question humans must answer: what does it mean to be human?

In the past one hundred years, humans have developed more efficient ways to kill. The same century that saw humans launch into the heavens is also the deadliest in human history—more than 200 million people were killed as a direct product of war or revolution. Animals species are being wiped off the face of the earth at an estimated rate of 1000 times more than pre-industrialization. International slavery is currently at its highest peak in human history. Science provides the “how:” how the refracting light of water droplets creates a rainbow. The Humanities are the necessary pause to consider the “why:” why is a rainbow beautiful; why have humans attached a symbolic meaning to the rainbow; why does the rainbow, as a symbol, vary across cultures and ages.

The Humanities are the splash of color in history—the beautiful developments of human culture, like faith, belief, and the triumph of the human condition. Every poet, author, leader, and hero that sacrificed himself or herself for another is unquestionably a student of the Humanities. They have paused and considered their place in history, and attempted to answer what it means to be human.

Humanity did not emerge from a vaccuum. The first human settlement in Africa was almost 800,000 years ago—the first city-state almost six millenia ago. The lives and actions of our ancestors mattered. We are the inheritor of a precious legacy, and it is our fundamental obligation as humans to understand our place in this world. We must explore our cultural foundations to determine our future as a people.

Today we have the opportunity to live longer, become richer with the virtual world at our fingertips. Students of the Humanities study how to live with a purpose, an intentionality. The Humanities are essential; the critical difference between merely living versus living well.

 

Analytical, Creative, and Culturally Competent: Unique Skills in the Humanities

Analytical

A foundational component of the Humanities is the study of the development of knowledge: how do we know what we know? How can we trust that what we know is true? When do we arrive at knowledge?

 Ancient philosophers like Socrates and Plato believed humans were born with a priori knowledge—before birth, humans exist in the highest realm of ideas. The descent into a human body lulls the knowledge of abstract truth into the subconscious; therefore, humans are born with all knowledge and spend life rediscovering and reawakening innate knowledge. John Locke would argue against Plato’s innatism with the idea of tabula rasa, the blank slate. He stated that humans are born as a blank slate, and all knowledge is gained through information received by the senses. Instead of a priori knowledge, humans learn a posteriori, that is, we learn empirically through experience.

 Rene Descartes questioned the reliability of the senses, stating that senses are not reliable because they may be deceived and are mutable. For example, a person has three bowls of water: cold, room temperature, and hot. The person places their right hand in the cold water and their left hand in the hot water for five minutes. They then place both hands into the room-temperature water. Each hand will experience a different sensation: to the cold water hand, it will be hot; to the hot water hand, it will be cold. The senses will state that the single bowl of room-temperature water is both hot and cold; therefore, Descartes stated that the senses are murky lenses that imperfectly arrive at knowledge—they must be discarded when searching for Truth. Instead, Descartes said we must examine the most basic, irrefutable fact: we exist. By doubting our existence, we prove we exist. Cogito ergo sum—I think, therefore I am.

 You’ll study cases like this in Civilization I, Civilization II, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, and Continental and Modern Philosophy

How does this help your analytical skills?

The study of complex philosophical arguments will provide you with a strong foundation in rhetoric, the art of picking apart an argument and persuasively devising your own. Moreover, through studying the foundation of human knowledge, you will be prepared to confront the myriad of flawed assertions which people are bombarded with daily and determine the validity of their argument: how do they know what they know? Furthermore, you will be able to develop and support your own arguments without relying on logical fallacies.

 

Creative

Through the study of topics like Art, Art History, Postmodern Adolescent Literature, Voice and Vision, and Monsters in Literature, students are inspired to approach complex problems with creative solutions. Students examine creative works and produce their own. Students explore what it means to create and how we derive meaning from the finished product. This may be through interpreting a text, or deconstructing a film.

 

Cultural Intelligence Quotient (CQ)

For a time employers concentrated on hiring employees with high IQs; however, it was employees with higher Emotional Quotients (EQs) were the majority of managers and received the highest number of promotions. IQ and EQ are still important; but they are rooted in the 20th century. Today’s employers are searching for applicants with a strong Cultural Intelligence Quotient (CQ). CQ refers to a person’s cultural sensitivity, knowledge of other cultures, and ability to work in a global context. It is impossible to thrive in a global economy without having talented employees familiar with varied cultures; hence, HR hiring managers are currently scrambling for applicants that can demonstrate a high CQ.

When it comes to CQ, Humanities students undoubtedly have the advantage. A bachelor’s degree in Humanities emphasizes the study of varied cultures. You will have the opportunity to study Western civilization in Civilization I and II; moreover, you may elect to study Eastern cultures in classes like the History and Culture of Japan and the History and Culture of China. Classes like World Art History and World Music classes help students develop an international appreciation of human culture. Many students opt to take elective courses in global communication, such as Linguistics and World Languages, International Marketing Communication, and Global Communication. Furthermore, Florida Tech currently offers three critical languages: Russian, Arabic, and Mandarin Chinese; three Romance languages: Spanish, French, and Italian; and two Germanic language: German and English.

Florida Tech has a vibrant international student population. Students come from well over 100 countries and Florida Tech is continually recognized at an international level for its international student program. Within the School of Arts and Communication, faculty regularly attend the East-West Center, an institution created by Congress in 1960 expressly for public diplomacy in the Asia Pacific region, international conferences, and lead study abroad programs to Europe every spring and summer. In the summer, students have the opportunity to work as a cultural ambassador in the American Studies Institute, a three-week intensive program for undergraduate students from Florida Tech’s partner universities in Taiwan.

Florida Tech’s position is truly unique and is empowered to provide students with a vastly augmented CQ by graduation. When a recruiter asks if you are prepared to work with different cultures—whether it be based in Europe, South America, Asia, or the Middle East—you will be concretely prepared with a solid academic grounding in classes with an international focus and a list of international development opportunities during your time at Florida Tech.

 

Contact

School of Arts and Communication
150 W. University Blvd.
Melbourne, FL 32901

(321) 674-8082