Humanities Moments
Notes on Helen Zia

Asian American Dreams

Angel Trazo, 26, PhD student in Cultural Studies at UC Davis

While a double major in Biology and Studio Art at Colgate University, a predominantly-white university in Upstate New York, my coursework provided challenging STEM curricula and liberal arts classes steeped in the classical Western tradition. However, I did not realize what I was not learning (and had desperately, subconsciously been seeking to…
Impressionist painting

Van Gogh and Me

Julia Reardon, Mountain Heights Academy, Utah

Last November my grandmother was visiting and wanted to do something fun. Instead of fun, my mother dragged us to the traveling “Beyond Van Gogh” exhibit that was in Salt Lake City at the time. As we entered this big warehouse where the exhibit was located, my fears seemed to be confirmed. I walked along a winding path with backlit, large-canvas…
Torso with Hands on Hips, 1994, by Nancy Fried, American, b. 1945

Contingent Bodies: Encountering The DisAbility Project

Ann Fox, professor of English at Davidson College

Ann Fox describes her first encounter with The DisAbility Project, a St. Louis-based performance group. Humor, skits, and monologues reflecting the experiences of disabled people helped her understand disability politics, and realize the pleasure and creativity possible in bodily variation. Curator’s note: Read Ann Fox’s essay, “To Be Rather than To…
The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show

The Musical Awakening of Steven Van Zandt

Steven Van Zandt, musician (E Street Band), actor (The Sopranos), and founder of Rock & Roll Forever Foundation

On February 9, 1964, The Beatles’ group appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show electrified the nation. Four months later, a young Steven Van Zandt had an “epiphany” while watching The Hollywood Palace, another variety show. That night, singer Dean Martin hosted—and then teased—The Rolling Stones, representing a generational shift. The past met the…
French bus

Le Magic School Bus

Ashley Coogan, 34, PhD Student in Linguistics & Applied Linguistics, Arizona State University

No, it wasn’t the real Magic School Bus from the books and TV. But one of my most poignant humanities moments did happen on a bus. And I did learn a lot from it. And, yes, the bus was French. I grew up in Arizona in a monolingual family. I studied French in my last years of high school because I needed it to graduate. I loved it. I loved it…

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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