Center for Humanities

American Studies | Art History | Historic Preservation | History | Literary Studies | Philosophy | Visual & Material Culture

To study the humanities is to study the human condition across time and space; it is to grasp both the diversity—and the unity—of human cultures. The advancement of technology and global communication at different moments in our history has revolutionized the humanistic endeavor, and yet our need to understand, relate to, and explain our role as individuals in relationship with the natural world and the cosmos remains the same. Students of the humanities explore multiple perspectives and interpretations of the human experience and the human spirit over time. They learn to identify, discuss, and evaluate different ways of explaining our place in the universe, as expressed through ideas, visual culture, and historical and literary narratives.

The humanities at Goucher includes five programs—American studies (a major, only), history, literary studies in English, philosophy, and visual and material cultureand minor-only programs in art history and historic preservation. In addition, the the Sweren Wogan Institute for the Study of the Book supports project-based student/faculty collaborations that engage interdisciplinary teaching, student research, and programming focused on the history of the book across time and world cultures. Common themes we explore include the formulation and imposition of identity, the creation, use, and misuse of memory, the process of storytelling and the evolution of narrative over time, and the history of ideas.

Humanities students explore a complex web of human records, including texts, ideas, images, and material artifacts. We learn to “read” these verbal, theoretical, and visual records with a critical and informed eye. Many of our courses engage primary materials, including those housed at Goucher College’s Library and Special Collections & Archives, or in Goucher’s Art & Artifact Collection, giving students firsthand experience of verbal and visual documents that are grounded in history, and which “make” history.