What Are the Different Branches of Humanities?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 16, 2020 10:10:47 PM ET

The different branches of humanities include literature, art, music, philosophy, history, religion and language. People use the humanities to document and explore the human experience, and there are further branches that intersect with the scientific world.

While some believe the fine arts like music, art and dance belong in their own category, a lot also categorize them as part of the humanities. The branches of humanities can therefore be defined as literature, history, languages, religion, philosophy, music, art and dance. Each of these subjects studies the human experience and constructs, as opposed to natural processes.

In the course of exploring the human experience, each humanities branch looks into consciousness, ideas, ideals and values. In many of the humanities, especially literature and history, written texts are important. Historians are especially likely to use written work to document and explore events from different perspectives.

In other branches, such as art and dance, visual media is important. This includes historic paintings, engravings and sculptures, through to modern media like film and cartoons. Some may also include music in the humanities. In addition, there are further branches of humanities that intersect with science, such as medical humanities. Medical humanities attempt to explore medicine from a human perspective, with a particularly large emphasis on historical accounts. The aim of medical humanities is to encourage self-reflection and empathy.