Practical Power of Humanities

Robert J. Morais, in his Anthrocurious article dated December 18, 2023, addresses the perceived lack of practical value in humanities and anthropology degrees, a sentiment echoed by critics and state legislatures. He counters this view by highlighting the broad range of skills humanities education imparts, beneficial in various business contexts. Drawing on insights from ChatGPT, Morais emphasizes the humanities’ contribution to developing critical thinking, communication, cultural understanding, problem-solving, and ethical business practices. These skills are crucial in enhancing interpersonal relationships and successfully navigating global markets. The skepticism towards humanities, as exemplified by former Florida Governor Rick Scott’s remarks, is seen as a deterrent for students considering these fields.

Morais, an applied anthropologist, illustrates the real-world applications of cultural anthropology, a discipline straddling both humanities and social science. He cites examples of anthropologists employed in major corporations and influential roles, demonstrating their significant contributions to sectors like public health, sustainability, consumer understanding, and cross-cultural relations. Morais advocates for the integration of humanities with practical fields, proposing co-created courses between humanities departments and schools of business, engineering, public affairs, and other professional studies. This approach, he argues, would unveil the humanities’ practical potential and counter the misguided notion of their limited real-world applicability. The article concludes by urging a broad recognition of the humanities’ value in practical settings, essential for the benefit of graduates, organizations, and society at large.

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