“Human sciences” implies both an object of study and an approach. The object of study is human beings, individually and communally, engaged in all varieties of doing, making, and experiencing. The approach, and aim, is comprehensive understanding of human being. This means that the human sciences do not privilege a single discipline or methodology, reduce the human being to a simplified object of explanation, or ignore the fact that investigating human being should be done in the first and second persons (I, we, and you) as well as in the third person (they or it).
Insofar as the human sciences aim to be comprehensive, they must also be interdisciplinary. They incorporate most of the traditional social and behavioral sciences—anthropology, sociology, political economy, linguistics, psychology and social psychology, and the like—but also many humanities disciplines and even aspects of the biological sciences.
Historically, the human sciences emerged as traditional cultures were turning modern. One of their central concerns has therefore been the problems of negotiating this transition. This makes them indispensable for understanding human existence in the contemporary world.
Accordingly, the concentration in Human Sciences in the Contemporary World has five major goals.
1. To understand how the transformations of the contemporary world have both enhanced life and set it unprecedented problems;
2. To instill a sophisticated appreciation for the contemporary influences, movements, forces, and tendencies that are progressively transforming human activities and institutions;
3. To offer various ways of understanding the structures of contemporary societies and the processes of change that they undergo;
4. To counteract the divisive force of intellectual overspecialization and compartmentalization;
5. To place these matters within the context of the great traditions of Western civilization, in particular the tradition of the West’s openings to other cultures and now to global civilization.
Students in the B.A. and the concentration in Human Sciences in the Contemporary World study the major theories and concepts that have been developed by the human and social sciences in the context of the unique core curriculum of the University of Dallas. They thus will be equipped to understand how the Western and Christian intellectual traditions have shaped these theories and concepts and learn how to apply them to the problems of contemporary societies.