Humanities Unit – History

The Humanities Unit of the School of General Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka started off as one of the original five divisions of the General Studies Programme, namely language and literature, language and society, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Humanities in the 1961/62 academic session, later on, during the 1964/65 academic session, the divisions were reduced to four units of Humanities, the Social Sciences, Natural Science and the Use of English. Humanities Unit was conceived to help in producing students with oil round education not mere experts in their narrow courses.

Several realms of values are captured within the purview of the Humanities: Music, Philosophy, Literature, Religion, and Art. The materials studied are geared to help the students appreciate how the present world emerged from the ancient world. Primarily, the purpose of the Humanities is to give the students the opportunity to understand and participate in significant value experiences as embodied and preserved in books, works of to understand and participate in significant value experiences as embodied and preserved in books, works of art, religion, and philosophical systems. The students resultantly achieve for themselves a more adequate set of values and norms. The experience of art is made possible by the presentation of paintings, musical recordings, and poems. In other words, the Humanities Unit is not limited to the study of printed words in books. The students are, thus made to enter into the great period of history as reflected in cultural expressions.

In other words, the students are made aware of how the present relates to the past and the close interrelationships of the various streams of culture. It is discerned that there was a sharp bifurcation in the understanding the uniqueness of the African world and the world of Europe, America, and Asia. The overemphasis on the African world and the failure to recognize the point of similarities and dissimilarities from oriental and accidental universes are evident in some of the social science courses like religion and philosophy. Also the effects of colonization brought about conflicts in the cultures of Africa most of which continue to circumscribe the realities of our present world. All these issues have greatly helped the nature of humanities study offered by the GS over the years.