Humanities, Plain & Simple

Directed by Christine Henseler, Humanities, Plain & Simple is a special 4Humanities project. It is a comprehensive and targeted campaign that calls out to individuals and groups inside and outside of academia to write statements in “plain language” as to why the humanities matter. How has humanities-based thinking directly or indirectly altered or innovated strategies, ideas, research, leadership, learning? The statements will be published on the 4Humanities site and/or in mainstream print publications or digital media sites. The pieces may be of a serious or sarcastic nature; they may be of a few short paragraphs or of several pages; they may address the effects of a particular experience or talk about the Humanities as a whole. The only request is for writers to communicate in the language of everyday life, to address a general audience, and to refer to real-world situations.

We highly welcome the work of individuals from inside and outside of academia, and from inside and outside of the humanities. We are also interested in putting together teams from a variety of backgrounds to write and edit longer essays targeted to specific audiences. If you are interested in this initiative, or would like to submit advocacy statements, please send them to Christine Henseler ( The material will be evaluated by 4Humanities for possible publication and dissemination. All accepted pieces will be posted on the 4Humanities website.

Donna Davenport and Katherine Walker / NY6 Think Tank, “A Duet from the Humanities: Music and Dance Voices”

With Donna dancing and Katherine making music, the following duet presents a bi-disciplinary reflection on the complexity of the performing arts in higher education and their connection to the Humanities as a way of thinking, studying, and experiencing the world. But first we take a peek backstage. STAGE PREP As if art were ice cream, […]

Katherine Walker / NY6Think Tank, On Being a “Growing-Up,” or Why We Need the Humanities

« A Humanities, Plain & Simple Post » In the beginning, we are all very small. But we grow—-perpetually, imperceptibly—-and as we grow, our world grows with us. Little by little it grows to include grandma, dirt, chocolate, playgrounds, friends, two-wheelers, books and movies, and on and on until we reach adulthood. Should it stop […]

Christine Henseler, “Minecraft Anyone? Encouraging A New Generation of Computer Scientists and Humanists”

« A Humanities, Plain & Simple Post » Note: This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post. Does your son or daughter play Minecraft? And do you stand before that screen wondering what it’s all about, and how it’s possible that your kid doesn’t get dizzy from moving around this blocky world so quickly? Do […]

Susan Frost, “Counterintuitive Humanities Brings Surprises”

A new kind of capitalism is being heralded in business journals throughout the world. “Conscious Capitalism” and “Inclusive Capitalism” are but two of the new buzz terms in re-examining capitalism in the 21st century. At the same time, academia is being admonished for inadequately preparing students for a 21st century workplace – a place which, in fact, we know little about. Combine this assault on education with the teach-to-the-test modality and the educational world becomes a tangle.

Christine Henseler, “Screen Literacy for the Next Generation: How the Arts and Humanities Matter”

« A Humanities, Plain & Simple Post » Note: This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post. If your child is anything like mine, he or she is probably spending a lot of time in front of the computer, playing Minecraft, watching YouTube videos, dancing before the XBox or Wii console, posting to Instagram and using […]

Steven Yao, “Meaning, Value, Ethics: Asking Questions about the Humanities”

« A Humanities, Plain & Simple Post » What “value” do the Humanities offer that is important, useful, or even distinctive? What skills or abilities are developed through humanistic thought in particular? And if there are skills or abilities distinctive to humanistic training, do we need those skills or abilities? Or, to put things a […]