Humanities Moments
Biologist Rachel Louise Carson (1907-1964)

Can You Imagine a World Without Birdsong?

Terry Tempest Williams, author, conservationist, activist

In this video recollection, author and conservation activist Terry Tempest Williams describes her first encounter with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and the ethical questions shared by her grandmother about taking personal responsibility for the natural world. As she says of this moment, “On that day, I became an environmentalist.” In discussing…
Madonna

Madonna’s Mandorla

Caroline A. Jones, professor of art history at MIT

While acting as a teaching assistant for a large art appreciation course, Caroline Jones witnessed a student’s curiosity about a painting of the Madonna. Such symbols, so pervasive and recognizable in Western culture, she realized, are not as simple and self-contained as they may seem to some of us. The experience helped her to see that even familiar…
Lake Nicaragua

A House

Alejandro, 19, student

Every single year, from first grade all the way up to senior year, we heard about one man: Ruben Darío. Growing up in Nicaragua, where this internationally renowned poet/writer is from, one would expect that. We covered his biography life’s works multiple times in our literature classes. I recognized his undeniable talent, but somehow I had managed…
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)

Well-Behaved Women

Jacqueline Stallworth, 46 years old, High School English teacher in northern Virginia

My moment focuses on the fact that African American women have been using their words as Political Resistance. The humanities contributed to this moment, because my ancestors and myself are using words to make sense of the world and our place in it.... Resisting!

About Humanities Moments

The humanities are everywhere — so deeply woven into our daily lives that we often miss them. Sometimes, though, the humanities can surprise you. A book you can’t put down. A photograph that haunts you. A song you can’t get out of your head. And from that moment on, you find yourself changed. The Humanities Moments Project was created to collect personal stories about encounters with the humanities. The stories on this site are presented as submitted, capturing the experiences of those who've shared them in their own words — reflecting their individual views, interpretations, and conclusions. Together, they highlight the diverse and powerful ways the humanities are able to teach, inspire, and enrich our lives.

The humanities are everywhere. But they are so interwoven into our daily lives that we often miss them. Sometimes, though, they surprise you. A book you can’t put down. A photograph that haunts you. A song you can’t get out of your head. The Humanities Moments Project was created to collect stories about how the humanities touch us, inspire us, and enrich our lives.

Read More About the Project

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