Speaking Your Language

In setting up an account that aims to encompass all that could be included under such an umbrella term as the humanities, the worry is that not that we won’t have anything to say to each other, but that some of what we say may be lost in translation.

Who has never stumbled into a conversation between two colleagues in a particular field (and academics are particularly guilty of this), only to realise that we only understand one word in three of what is being said? The rest is what, to an outsider, can only be considered as jargon, but to those on the inside is the life-blood of their most stimulating and useful conversations and debates. We have a choice, then: to bluff it out, nod along enthusiastically and hope that all becomes clear at some point, or to slink off defeated, mumbling under our breath and feeling like the kid that never gets picked for the team at school.

It is this mystique, this sense of being shut out by language rather than invited in, that We the Humanities hopes to dispel. After all, when curating our Twitter account or commenting on another’s post, there really is no opportunity to get too arcane and entangled by language with only 140 characters to play with.

We believe that the humanities should be united by language rather than separated, and we really hope that encouraging dialogue between what have historically been seen as different disciplines will serve to highlight our similarities instead. Even disagreement shows some level of understanding about the issue at stake, and We the Humanities, both on Twitter and the blog, hope that a healthy debate on the issues that affect us will lead to clarity and understanding – whether we always agree with each other or not.

Krissie West

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