The humanities include the disciplines which study philosophy, religion, history, literature, and the arts. The department teaches students to ask how works of the humanities have been shaped by their historical and cultural contexts, and how they in turn have influenced readers and audiences. The department supports study of the humanities in the cultures of Europe and North America, China, Japan, South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and in predominately Islamic areas. Its courses give attention to historical development and cross-cultural interaction, both in the past and in the modern period.
The Department of Global Humanities and Religions (formerly: Dept. of Liberal Studies) serves the university and the larger community by supporting and sustaining excellent interdisciplinary teaching, learning, and scholarship in the humanities. Our courses span the globe and range from ancient to modern; they place particular emphasis on cultural history, religious studies, and cross-cultural interaction. To our students we impart knowledge of a wide range of cultural artifacts, some of the world's key canons and of the power of the book, together with the ability to rigorously and critically explore, contextualize and analyze texts of various types. Our program produces broad-minded and well-educated citizens, able and willing to effectively engage in a variety of endeavors that serve the needs of the people of Washington and the larger world.