We don’t measure the universe; we study how humankind has
thought about our place in it over the millennia.
The humanities disciplines—literature, history, languages,
anthropology, and others—investigate the human condition in
different times and different places from a variety of
The ability to understand the world from the perspective of
others is a skill that must be learned, not an innate trait. In a
multicultural democracy such as ours, the humanities provide the
tools we need to engage in dialogue with others, to think
critically about ideas—our own and others’—and to
listen critically to the society around us, from the street corner
to the world’s news.
That is why the University at Buffalo College of Arts and
Sciences created the Humanities Institute in 2005. The institute
was conceived as a meeting ground for the several humanities
disciplines, an opportunity for them to interact and see where
their different lines of inquiry might touch and open new ideas to
each other. And beyond being a theater for pure thought, the
institute was created to do things—to start conversations and
engage the public.
Now that the Humanities Institute is well established, we are
embarking on a campaign to secure our future and expand our