I’ve been thinking about this question in rather literal terms over the last few days as I’ve been drafting the contact form for people interested in being one of our weekly guest editors (coming soon). We’re looking for people who identify themselves as working within the humanities, which gets us out of answering this question somewhat, but in order to make sure we’re representing different areas each week I’ve made a tick-box list of different disciplines. That way we (Jess and Krissie) can see at a glance who’s interested in what, making sure we have variety in the schedule.
Part of what I’m most excited about with this project is how many different jobs, research areas and interests we can potentially cover but it’s nagging at me that I’m still not entirely sure what I mean when I say ‘the humanities’. How do we define ourselves and what does it mean when we exclude certain areas? Does it matter that we might have different definitions in mind so long as we’re all in agreement that the humanities are important to societies, individuals and cultures – or is this difference prohibitive? Will it get in the way of arguing for the importance of the humanities in public and private sectors and of how we might tackle cuts in funding and perceptions of value?
I’d be really interested in your definitions of the humanities, from the literal to the ideological; please add your thoughts in the comments. If nothing else it will help make sure I don’t leave your discipline or role off that checklist…