The Teaching of the Arts and Humanities at Sri Arvind Mahila College Mapping the
A culture of the Humanities enables us, that is, satisfyingly to describe, and thereby
give precise voice to, sets, and subsets, of our most vital emotional and cognitive
experience. All of us, whether we know it or not, have habitual recourse to the
language of art criticism and philosophy because art and philosophy are “where the
meanings are” (or at least a good deal of them!); the terms of art and philosophy
are the irreplaceable,companionable forms to our articulate reception of the world,
without which we fall painfully mute.
Of course different teachers of the Humanities will give priority to differing elements
in this nexus of practices. This document, indeed, will articulate distinguishable
traditions of Humanities scholarship more precisely below. We start, however, simply
by underscoring the activity of humanists as variously receptive, critical and constructive.
This is a deeply satisfying, passionate pedagogic enterprise (for both teachers
and students), whose dynamism derives from the relation between the private study,
the communal classroom and the world beyond.
The need to underscore this nexus of illuminating reception and constructive evaluation
by the Arts and the Humanities is all the more urgent given the historical moment
we face, a moment characterized by economic, military, ecological, religious and
technologicalchallenges of mighty profile. We therefore judge re-articulation of
the extraordinary promise of the Humanities to be timely. Our students are preparing
to act adroitly in a global environment; they are also preparing to flourish in
an austere job market. The Arts and the Humanities are essential on both inter related
fronts, cultural and personal. This document offers such an articulation. We begin
by focusing, however, on a prior and more immediate challenge, which is the troubled
status of the Humanities themselves in this new environment.