Innovation and the Humanities

Innovation, the Oxford English Dictionary tells us, denotes some alteration to an established order “by the introduction of new elements or forms.” But it’s interesting to reflect for a moment on what any “introduction of the new” entails. For instance, it implies a sense of history as well as novelty, of memory as well as imagination: one must be able to retain an image of what has passed if the innovation is to hold its allure. And yet, if innovation is not to remain perpetually mystifying to us, if we are to grasp the process by which “the new” happens, then we must also possess some ability to organize an innovative product or idea into transmissible form and then show ourselves capable of explaining the nature of the transformation. And it always helps, of course, to understand the cultural contexts in which new things may take root.

Public Humanities

The BYU Humanities Center is committed to fostering dialog between the University, businesses, organizations, and local and virtual communities; our goal is to extend opportunities for learning while keeping the University in vital contact with the public we serve.