Humanities Moments
David Foster Wallace

“This is Water”: Finding Empathy in the Banalities of Daily Living

Avery, 18, Student

I was first introduced to David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water” in a Language and Composition class. Our textbook was full of examples of rhetoric, categorized by topic. “This is Water” was originally a Commencement speech given at Kenyon College in 2005. A shortened version was transcribed in my textbook which I had to analyze and write about for…
Moscow

Taking Russian and Other Happy Accidents

James Hackett, CEO, Alta Mesa Resources

James Hackett discusses how a pursuit of the Russian language led him down various paths—and ultimately, to a career in the energy sector.
Costa Rican coat of arms

Redefining Patriotism and Environmental Justice in Costa Rica

Randall Tolpinrud, President, Pax Natura Foundation

Randall Tolpinrud describes an extraordinary experience during a trip to Costa Rica to film a documentary series with the BBC in 1998. At a celebration to commemorate the passing of the Biodiversity Act, which protects and promotes the environment and endangered species within the country, a spontaneous outpouring of national pride caused him to…
Printz Prize Winners 2018

Why I Read YA

Scot Smith, 53, school librarian

I was born and grew up in rural Southern Appalachia. Books and stories were my pathway out of the holler and into a world of hope and possibility. As a child and teen, I read and listened voraciously, and those stories found in books helped to save my life. Without them, I am not sure where I would be right now. During my early years as an adult, I…
Tootsie's Orchid Lounge

Music Connects Us

Marty Amrine, 43, Writer

Music has always been a powerful and connective force, especially when we least expect it. My father dedicated his life to classical music. Classical was the only form of music we would hear coming from a radio or his cello as he practiced in our living room. Rock n Roll was only allowed with headphones unless my mom and I were in the car, without…

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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