Volume 17: Humanity (Fall 2019)

Fall 2020 THEME: Humanity

Humanity exists liminally, in that it exists within us and around us—never occupying a space but never quite transient as well. If humanity were tangible, would certain people have more of it than others? Are we able, as humans, to identify humanity in ourselves or is it akin, in some way, to our physical appearance—something we can only ever see in reflection but never otherwise? Is humanity fluctuating or constant, and can we achieve more of it as we continue through life? In many ways, our humanity is equated with our morality in a way that makes the two contingent upon one another, or perhaps even synonymous. Is this true, or are they mutually exclusive? Can humanity be achieved without morality, or vice versa? When we engage with others, are we exercising humanity? Are interpersonal relationships their own form of humanity, mostly because they’re largely specific to humans? 

Mind

In the mind, we create who we are. All the things we think, feel, and experience every day are synthesized in our minds to create a unified sense of self, an individual humanity. At the same time, our minds allow us to think critically and empathetically beyond ourselves, about other people, to grant us an overarching sense of humanity. How do our commonalities and dissimilarities make us view our humanities differently? Consider and critique what we often view as fundamentally human—the urges to form relationships, to be part of groups, to define ourselves based on the opinions of others. Do we have an identity beyond the need to socialize? Do we exist beyond others? Do conventions and social norms influence the way we interact with people similar to us? Different from us? Are our minds constantly trying to find a way to cultivate and maintain appropriate relationships? Is code-switching an exercise in minimizing the margin of difference between us and others?

What Animation Taught Us: Navigating Identity in Mulan by Pippa Russell

I See You by Jade Andrade

Reluctance and Resolution by Daniel Choi

Death

 Death and humanity seem to concepts that are intrinsically linked: if you are human, you will die. However, even though death is an inevitable event, many western countries approach death as though it is something to be intensely feared above all else. How do different cultural practices and beliefs surrounding death influence the way we relate to humanity? When death is acknowledged as a natural part of life, does it change how we previously considered our own lives? Death is one of the most universal experiences that exist. Should we consider death a force that unites all of humanity, rather than something to be avoided at all costs? To some people, the death of a loved one results in them feeling permanently changed. How much do we attach our own humanity to other people? What happens to our humanity when these people leave us?

Funerality by Pippa Russell

Life As It Should Be by Dylan Holder

Time

Humans are the only species to grasp the concept of time beyond the setting of the sun and the passing of seasons. Our histories have been recorded and revered, studied and debated, and will ultimately be our legacy when our time is up. Where else can we go? What else can we achieve? Evidence of humans traces back 200,000 years, and from there we’ve only grown. Through time humanity has progressed beyond hunting and gathering to things beyond imagination. Our perceptions of identity, society, and morality have changed drastically as we’ve evolved. How can we redefine ourselves in the new century, the new millennia? To another degree, time is running out for our home-world—Earth. Do the reaches of humanity extend to Earth itself, or are we meant for greater things in the future? Many humans find it hard to believe in the existence of life beyond Earth, is this because we find it difficult to allow humanity to exist beyond the confines of our own history? Is humanity linked, integrally, inextricably, to humans, or is it simply linked to the existence of life?

Man and Machine by Eli Annoni

Vertigo by Kyra Jee

On Chaos by Sierra DeWalt

On The Line by Kyra Jee

Space

The space we occupy has a profound impact on how we perceive ourselves and others. Our setting and environment often dictate what societal norms and beliefs we internalize and project onto those around us. How do spaces like our birthplace and hometown influence how we view humanity? How connected is our own human identity to the places we come from as well as the places we move or travel too? The hypothetical space between countries, cities, and communities also influences the way we view the humanity of others. In what ways do geographical borders cultivate differing perceptions of humanity? Are boundaries a necessary distinction, or do they propagate an “us versus them” mentality? The spaces we create for others are often largely representative of which parts of humanity we deem are “valuable.” How does making space for the representation of traditionally marginalized communities broaden the “mainstream” view of humanity?

Eulogy by Sierra DeWalt

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