Humanities Moments

Humanities Moments

We’ve all had “humanities moments” — when our lives were made richer, more poignant, and meaningful because of the insights the humanities provide.

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by Molly A. Warsh, Assistant Professor of World History, University of Pittsburgh
Family tree
My Humanities Moment happened when my husband and I received the results of the genetic testing kits we’d ordered. The stories that my husband’s DNA told matched up pretty closely with his family’s history, but mine delivered some surprises. In addition to indicating a lot of northwestern European and Central European ancestors, which I expected, my report pointed to Scandinavian, West African, and North African ancestors! This all came as news to my whole family. We wondered: how did these encounters happen? What were the circumstances…

by Terry Tempest Williams, author, conservationist, activist
from "Peterson's Field Guide to Western Birds"
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.”

Steve Jobs at Stanford University
Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself — at the university’s 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005. Transcript of Steve Jobs’ address.
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