Center for the Humanities

University of Rhode Island

Swan Hall, 175G 60 Upper College Rd. Kingston, RI 02881


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About the Center

The Center for Humanities at the University of Rhode Island’s current activities include:


About the Center

URI’s Center for the Humanities was established by Faculty Senate legislation in 1994 and is designed to foster intellectual exchange and independent inquiry, analysis, and interpretation of the humanities in research, teaching, and learning. Its activities include a speaker series, research grants, and fellowships for faculty and graduate students, and an annual Linking Humanities to Careers event for undergraduates. The center is funded by the state, and by several generous endowments. Click here for more information about our donors, funding, and support. For more information about the center, watch our video, or contact the Center’s director: Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Center for Humanities, 175G Swan Hall, University of Rhode Island, Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881, call (401) 874-5700, or e-mail

What Are the Humanities?

The humanities are the stories, the ideas, and the words that help us understand our lives and our world. They introduce us to people we have never met, places we have never visited, and ideas that may never have crossed our minds. By showing how others have lived and thought about life, the humanities help us decide what is important and what we can do to make our own life and the lives 2013-festival-5of others better. By connecting us with other people, the humanities point the way to answers about what is ethical and what is true to our diverse heritage, traditions, and history. They help us address the challenges we face together as families, communities, and nations. As fields of study, the humanities emphasize analysis and exchange of ideas and may be interdisciplinary.

  • History, Anthropology, and Archaeology study human, social, political, and cultural developments, as well as aspects of the Social Sciences that use historical or philosophical approaches.
  • Literature, Languages, and Linguistics, as well as certain approaches to Journalism and Communication Studies, that explore how we communicate with each other, and how our ideas and thoughts on the human experience are expressed and interpreted.
  • Philosophy, Ethics, and Comparative Religion, which consider ideas about the meaning of life and the reasons for our thoughts and actions.
  • Jurisprudence, which examines the values and principles which inform our laws.
  • Critical and theoretical approaches to and practices of the Arts that explore historical or philosophical questions and reflect upon the creative process.

The humanities should not be confused with “humanism,” a specific philosophical belief, nor with “humanitarianism,” the concern for charitable works and social reform.


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