Founded in 1986, the Humanities Institute presents a thematic program each semester on a topic related to the humanities. As part of Scripps’ tradition of interdisciplinary education, this program includes lectures, conferences, exhibitions, performances, and film series bringing prominent and younger cutting-edge scholars to campus.
For this year’s Humanities Institute, we will focus on important ideas, arguments, and concepts from outside of Europe and European influence. The aim is to broaden what we take to be “foundational” in the history of thought, beyond those typically (though not universally) emphasized in the curricula of American colleges, from as far “West” as the pre-Colombian Americas, to as far “East” as classical China. We do this in order to enrich our understanding of history, humanity, the world, and how to get along within it, and to develop a more diverse set of concepts, each with its own unique assumptions and implications.
The topics under discussion will include some of humanity’s enduring questions: what is true, what is right, what are we, and what does it mean to know this? The answers and concepts brought to bear on these are not new–they have been around for centuries–but they may well be new to you, and this year we strive to explore them on their own terms.