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Processes of study in the arts and humanities

Introduction

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In this unit we turn to the nature of the arts and humanities themselves, and look at the main processes involved in studying them.

Broadly, when you study the arts and humanities you study aspects of culture. You explore people's ideas and beliefs, their cultural practices and the objects they have made. Human history is criss-crossed with the traces of people who did, said and made things and these people were to some extent aware of what they were doing. So all these things mean something. Your task is to look carefully at people's ideas, practices and products to try to understand what they mean. You achieve this understanding by:

This unit is an adapted extract from the Good Study Guides [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

  • analysing the various ‘objects’ of your study (for example, plays, music, paintings, historical or legal documents, philosophical treatises, maps, buildings, religious ceremonies);

  • interpreting the meanings of these objects;

  • making judgements of their value;

  • communicating your interpretations and judgements.

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