Universities and students light hope to the humanities 1
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Universities and students light hope to the humanities 1
  • Park Se-ra
  • 승인 2011.10.14 13:42
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Interview with Ewha humanities professors

♦ continued from last issue

Ewha Voice (EV): What meaning or impact could the humanities revival movement have on Korean society, especially on the young?
Baik So-young (Baik): Failing to prove your capabilities does not mean you have failed to prove your value. However, in this society it is rather easy to believe in the opposite. The young had hopes and dreams bigger than themselves, but nowadays this outlook appears to be a misnomer as students instead cover themselves with frustration and lack confidence. By studying humanities, students will recover dignity and realize their true value.
Jang Mi-young (Jang): I am optimistic about this as people are seeking solution and potential in it, an opportunity to contemplate on true human values. Although it does seem like a temporary trend to find an alternative out of competitive socialism, it is better than indifference. The purity of motivation of the movement must be brought up.
Jin Eun-Young (Jin): This stage is where we dig up the ground and plant seeds. For now, there is no tangible result, yet we could anticipate that when the seed finally takes root and blossoms, it will give birth to even more seeds to flare out. People should be patient and watch the society.
EV: For starters, humanities may sound a little bit too heavy and serious. Could you give any advice on how students can easily approach humanities?
Jang: Students must first understand that unlike other practical studies like statistics, it takes time to actually study humanities. It is not something that can be quickly absorbed by taking a few seminars.
Jin: Personally the most effective way students could access to humanities, is to set up a seminar with friends or classmates and discuss books on humanities together.
Baik: In Chinese characters, humanities means “the study of humans,” but “study” does not necessarily always mean digging into books. Students can start with familiar forms, such as movies. This is why we organize events like the “Humanities Week.”
EV: What do you think is the next task we must work on in our generation?
Jang: Humanities should not just end as something edible only for researchers, but should grow into a more common concept that the majority can understand and acknowledge. A lot of effort made by researchers, professors, students and the public is expected to bring this to reality.
Baik: Ewha Institute for the Humanities  is researching a new concept called “trans-humanity,” which involves research on how far we should define ourselves as humans. We are researching to what extent humans should consider identity and meaning.
Jin: There is a need to start doubting the virtues we valued for all this time such as development, growth, and efficiency. In the process of doing so, people might rediscover the new values and virtues of life.


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