Renewing the Humanities through Media Literacy
Although the topic of the humanities curriculum emerges periodically, the topic needs reexamination now. Given human problems in the 21st century, from terrorism to changing identities in the "global village," and especially those concerns facing adolescents in a media-dominated culture, the humanities are more important than ever. However, the humanities curriculum must be renewed to meet the needs of students, and media literacy can help this renewal. Media literacy--the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create communications in a variety of media--can reenergize the humanities. Media literacy reflects some of the most current scholarship in the humanities, and the media also interpret the humanities. Media literacy allows for curriculum connections across subject areas, and it can engage diverse students in stimulating, challenging ways. The study of traditional print texts remains important but not sufficient for tackling such concerns as economic development around the world, body image problems of adolescents, or violence in American society. The mass media can no longer be ignored in the curriculum.