Humanities seek to understand human self-understanding. The Humanities study human self-expression in language, art and literature, in religions and philosophy, in past and present. In my inaugural address at Tilburg University, on January 30 2015, I, Willem B. Drees, will articulate my understanding of humans and of the relevance of the humanities. The title is “Naked Ape or Techno Sapiens: The Relevance of Human Humanities.”
The Tilburg School of Humanities (TSH) focuses on human existence in our highly technological world. Communication and Information Sciences are immersed in modern ICT. Culture is also reshaped deeply by modern ICT and other technological developments, globalization and almost instantaneous communication. In the Tilburg School of Humanities, Cultural Studies focuses on the interaction of online and offline culture. One particular theme is diversity: Globalization has made our local world more diverse, not merely as a diversity of co-existing groups but as diversity within individual existence (‘superdiversity’). That this website mixes Dutch and English may be a modest example, as do our bachelor and master programs – with options in Dutch and in English. Philosophy, is the fundamental reflection on human knowledge and action; Tilburg School of Humanities is deeply involved in ethics and philosophy of science and also contributes courses on these human themes to the other bachelor programs of Tilburg University. Our Liberal Arts and Sciences program offers various strands, on law, economy, the social sciences and the humanities – but all of these contribute to a greater understanding of humanity in its diversity, while preparing each student for graduate studies and his or her own unique contribution to the world.