“The humanities are disciplines of memory and imagination, telling us where we have been and helping us envision where we are going. Together [with the social sciences], they provide an intellectual framework and context for understanding and thriving in a changing world, and they connect us with our global community.”

- from The Heart of the Matter, a report by the American Academy of the Arts & Sciences

IT’S GETTING SURREAL
Flappers and the author of a Surrealist "exquisite corpse" poem at the 1920s Salon, organized for Prof. Michael Johnson's course "The Splendid Drunken 1920s."  
THE GOOD LIFE
Philosophy professor George Miller at work in his second office...
EN FRANÇAIS ET EN ANGLAIS
Acadian poet Serge Patrice Thibodeau reads at UMF, while advanced French students share their English translations.
TOGETHER AGAIN
Creative Writing alumni reunite to share their experiences.

The UMaine Farmington Division of Humanities offers courses in English,  Creative Writing, Philosophy, Religion, and Languages, including French, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.

The Division of Humanities is home to more than two hundred students majoring in English, Secondary Education-English, Creative Writing, and Philosophy/Religion. In addition, the study of another language is a core component of the major in International and Global Studies.

The Division is affiliated with Alice James Books, a press dedicated to contemporary poetry, and it sponsors the Visiting Writers Series. Students in Humanities also participate in a variety of publications and other initiatives, including:

Offering diverse avenues of intellectual inquiry, the study of the Humanities at UMF calls upon students to explore fundamental questions about life, creativity, and the world.

How does this happen? Here’s what our Division Chair, Dr. Linda Britt, Professor of Spanish, has to say (en inglés y en español):

Dr. Linda Britt
The Humanities have been described as the stories, the ideas, and the words that help us make sense of our lives and our world. At UMF, our goal, through small, discussion-oriented classes, is to explore and explain the human experience, perhaps in Ancient Greece, or Medieval England, or the American West, or the postcolonial Caribbean. Students engage with existing literary and philosophical texts, for example, and create texts of their own. Along the way, they develop important skills in writing, critical thinking, and detailed textual analysis, while expanding their own horizons.
Las Humanidades se describen como las historias, las ideas, y las palabras que nos ayudan a interpretar nuestras vidas y nuestro mundo. Aquí en la universidad, nos aprovechamos de nuestras clases pequeñas y enfocadas en discusiones para explorar y explicar la experiencia humana, tal vez en la Grecia antigua, o la Inglaterra medieval, o el Oeste americano, o posiblemente en el Caribe postcolonial. Los alumnos se involucran en textos literarios o filosóficos, por ejemplo, y crean sus propios textos originales. Y en el camino, desarrollan habilidades importantes en escribir, en pensar críticamente, y en analizar los textos detalladamente, mientras ellos amplían sus propios horizontes.

And here are more glimpses from the recent book Teaching Matters: Essays by Faculty of the University of Maine at Farmington (2013):

“What strikes me now, looking back at my great teachers, is not so much their wisdom but the way their classrooms felt: like sacred spaces, spaces apart. I don’t think there’s any single doctrine all my great teachers held in common. But they were all believers. They believed in the sacredness of the classroom, in what could happen there.”

- English professor Kristen Case

“Presumably, my students have been reading for at least a dozen years before they take my course. But I’m not sure they’ve ever read this particular way before. Reading philosophy is working through the material. For the ultimate goal is to learn not what the philosopher thought, but what we think.”

- Philosophy professor Jonathan Cohen

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e-Mail: switham@maine.edu