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Humanist Tradition

  • By: J. Wesley Null
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

The humanist tradition within curriculum studies emphasizes literature, foreign languages, reason, and the complete development of human excellence, or virtue. In the United States, a humanistic approach to curriculum dominated K–12 schooling, as well as higher education, well into the late 20th century. Humanities subjects such as Greek, Latin, philosophy, and theology served as the foundation for U.S. curriculum until the rise of the physical sciences and later the social sciences in the 1880s and 1890s.

Humanists raise eternal questions that have been discussed since the beginning of time: What is human nature? What is reason? What should I do? What is the purpose of Man? And why are we here? For answers to these questions, humanist scholars look to models of scholarship that have proven ...

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