The Center for the Humanities recognizes that a number of definitions, descriptions, and philosophies define "the humanities" in varying and often contradictory ways.
While the Center hopes to foster ongoing consideration of what, precisely, constitutes "humanities" research and teaching, in Fall 2012, the Board of Directors voted to adopt the language of the National Endowment for the Humanities as the basis for determining whether a funding proposal would be eligible for the Center's support.
The NEH defines the humanities broadly and productively in the following statement:
"The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life."
—National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965, as amended