Humanities Moments
William Shakespeare

“It’s not nonsense, it’s Shakespeare.”

Dr. Michael P. H. Stanley

Dr. Michael P. H. Stanley describes an encounter with a terminally ill patient who, in his pain and confusion, demands to leave the hospital ward in the middle of the night. While the patient’s pleas are initially regarded as “nonsense” or evidence of his delirium, Dr. Stanley recognizes the patient’s writings as lines from Shakespeare’s play,…
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1964)

Listening and Learning: Innovating Education, Developing Character, and Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Maurice “Mo” Green, Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

Maurice Green describes the ways in which an essay by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., written while he was a student at Morehouse College, gave him a more expansive understanding of what education can and should do. As the superintendent of the Guilford County School District, Green successfully implemented programs that emphasized students’ character…
Symposium Ad

All Thanks to Olivia Pope

Sarah Scriven, 26, PhD Student in Women's Studies

I decided to go into academia at a panel about Scandal. It was 2015 and I was a college senior. Like millions of other fans, one weekly joy was Shonda Rhimes’ Thursday night primetime takeover: Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. The thrill of these Thursdays was not only the juicy and ridiculous plots, but the chance to…
Beethoven's Music

God in Music Form: Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

Craig Perrier, 46, Curriculum Specialist for Social Studies and Adjunct Professor

My mother received her undergraduate degree in Art History after her three children had graduated. As siblings with the label first generation college students, we like to think we inspired her to get her BA. But in reality she was the inspiration by making sure we were prepared and supported for our post-high school graduation. One aspect of…
Broken glass

Broken Glass and the Path to a Career in Education

Secretary Atif Qarni, Virginia Secretary of Education

In 2003, while deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom, I went on various convoys and used to see many children in small towns and neighborhoods running around barefoot playing with their friends. One thing I noticed is that there was a lot of loose trash and broken glass. I noticed that many children did not have shoes on. I also wondered if…

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.

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