In my position as director of Humanities Montana, the state’s Nationwide Endowment for the Humanities Council, I’ve the chance to work together with folks of the state representing a variety of social, non secular and political beliefs. Regardless of the perspective of every Montanan, I hear in these conversations an actual hope for civil dialogue and the assorted views that the humanities can supply to the divided public sq. of our nation.
The mission of Humanities Montana is to “serve communities by way of tales and conversations”. By providing views from literature, historical past, philosophy and different cultural fields, the general public humanities goal to counterpoint and strengthen our democracy.
Not too long ago, I’ve additionally heard from those that regard the humanities as “non-essential,” a luxurious reserved solely in instances of peace and prosperity. This place doesn’t shock me since we now have spent the final yr combating the brutal COVID-19 pandemic and coping with its related social, financial and political upheavals.
Whereas acknowledging this actuality, I ask these folks to think about historic precedents. Particularly in instances of uncertainty and reconstruction, the humanities have been seen as important to the upkeep of democratic values, establishments and the lifestyle of our nation. Two of those events come to thoughts: the creation of the Federal Writers’ Challenge in 1935 and the Nationwide Endowment for the Humanities in 1965. In each circumstances, the US authorities has made an specific and substantial dedication. within the humanities throughout instances of nationwide disaster and peril.