Our Vision
The Halifax Humanities Society - Advocates for barrier-free education in the Humanities

The Halifax Humanities Society is about to start the ninth year of putting on its signature course, Halifax Humanities 101. This is a not-for-credit, not-dumbed down, full first year of university-level study in the Humanities offered at no cost and directed to economically marginalized or uncredentialed students. The course is based on the famous Foundation Year Programme. That sets forth an account of the whole of western culture from before civilization to the present day. It does this by reading and considering many of the great works and topics from every Humanities discipline, all of which it weaves into a single, coherent account. The venture has been an astounding success for these students, who give it a serious commitment of time and effort by attending the twice-weekly two hour lectures from September to May and keeping up with a heavy reading schedule.

We are just beginning to understand that the credit-free, cost-free nature of these courses is somehow critical to these students staying the course – but not in the obvious sense. It is as if they could come and do all of this just because, for the first time in their lives, they did not have to do so. The result is that they have all been surprised to discover through these seemingly irrelevant and out of date texts a kind of unexpected freedom – and with it they have gone through the door to a universe of thought they never suspected was either there or theirs.

The all volunteer faculty, drawn from the Metro universities and beyond, are just as unanimous that this kind of learning for its own sake is the closest thing to what they consider to be an ideal teaching situation.

The Halifax Humanities Society has taken the next step in fulfilling its mandate of providing barrier-free education in the Humanities to anyone who wants to enter into this kind of study and conversation: in the fall of 2013 we launched the first course in a new program called HALIFAXTHINKS!

This provides the same content taught by the same teachers as in Halifax Humanities 101 but presented chiefly on-line and at a much more leisurely pace so as to accommodate a different audience for whom time and opportunity are of the essence. We began in Sep 2013 with a four-month course on the Ancient World, followed by another in Jan 2014 on the Middle Ages. Thereafter we will cycle through courses on the other periods covered in HH101 (the Early Modern World, Modernity, and the Post-Modern world). Our intention is eventually to add a range of other courses in the Humanities on a similar basis.

Our aim is to make the serious and sustained study of the Humanities accessible without barrier to as broad a range of people as possible: for the economically disadvantaged or uncredentialed, this means the course must be cost-free. For others it will mean that the content is delivered at the time and place of their choosing. The first group of learners have time but not the means; the second group has the means but not the time.

Register now for The Ancient World" beginning in late September.. [more]

Live tutorials will be on Sundays 2 - 4pm.
Click here for a sample lecture from 'The Ancient World' (without audio).

Click here to view the Aug 2012 Halifax NewsNet article on us.
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