19 Words That Mean Something Totally Different To Humanities Students

“We need to interrogate the performative aspects of these normative constructs, OK?”

1. Problematic

Fox / Via easyvegan.info

What it means to most people: Something that is an issue or is causing a problem.
What it means to humanities students: The ideological field in which something exists. Maybe. Probably. Even we’re not sure what we mean by it sometimes.

2. Interrogate

What it means to most people: Asking tough questions in order to get information. Often used by police officers trying to get info from suspects.
What it means to humanities students: To question the presuppositions and logic of a text or ideological framework. As in, “Let’s interrogate that problematic.”

3. Construct

What it means to most people: A verb used to describe the action of putting something together.
What it means to humanities students: Something socially created and culturally agreed upon, even though it’s not natural. Basically, everything.

4. Language

Warner Bros. / Via giphy.com

What it means to most people: The written or spoken utterances of words used by people to communicate with one another.
What it means to humanities students: IT’S A FARCE OK LANGUAGE IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT THAT OVERDETERMINES OUR COMMUNICATIVE ABILITIES.

5. Performance

What it means to most people: Acting, singing, or some other form of show for entertainment.
What it means to humanities students: The constant process of self-presentation. Everything is performed. You perform so much, you’re probably going to be nominated for an Oscar or something soon.

6. Gender

Cartoon Network / Via pretendplaytime.tumblr.com

What it means to most people: Male or female.
What it means to humanities students: HAHAHAHA you expect me to subscribe to the idea that gender is a binary? Nah, man.

7. Sign

DC Comics / Via imgur.com

What it means to most people: A board or poster or something that provides information.
What it means to humanities students: It represents something, in the most general sense, but depending on whether it’s an icon, index, or symbol, things can get ~confusing~. Thanks, Charles Sanders Peirce.

8. Real

NBC / Via mrwgifs.com

What it means to most people: Something that actually exists.
What it means to humanities students: Idk, we can never even really access it, can we? And let’s not even get into the hyperreal.

9. Ideology

Zeitgeist Films / Via critical-theory.com

What it means to most people: A system of thoughts and beliefs.
What it means to humanities students: Everything. Like, try to write a humanities paper without mentioning ideology at least five times. Can’t be done.

10. Public/Private

NBC / Via giphy.com

What it means to most people: Public is something that happens outside, where other people can see. Private happens inside and is kept amongst a few people.
What it means to humanities students: lol trying to create a dichotomy between public and private. The public extends into the private and vice versa.

11. Normative

What it means to most people: Idk, normal I guess?
What it means to humanities students: Basically following the main social constructs that often inflict institutional violence upon those who deviate. 2 many norms 2 deal with.

12. Heteronormativity

What it means to most people: Um, I just said it’s probably something normal?
What it means to humanities students: The processes of gendering and sexualizing certain acts in conjunction with commonly accepted practices of heterosexuality. FiGhT dA pAtRiArChY.

13. Modern

ABC / Via giphy.com

What it means to most people: Contemporary. Of the moment.
What it means to humanities students: Theories and aesthetics pertaining to the search for a grand narrative. And then there’s the post-modern, which was like LOL U THINK U CAN ESTABLISH ANY KIND OF SINGULAR/COHERENT NARRATIVES IN THIS WORLD COME ON BRO.

14. Queer

Showtime / Via queerasgifs.tumblr.com

What it means to most people: Strange, different. Or, basically anything that’s LGBT-related in any way.
What it means to humanities students: Resistance, y’all. Not even necessarily related to anything LGBT. Queer the narrative, fight normativity. All in a day’s work.

15. Self

What it means to most people: You, basically. Your sense of personhood.
What it means to humanities students: An immensely fragile, constantly restructuring set of ideologies and norms all struggling for supremacy within oneself. But still, treat yo self.

16. Text

What it means to most people: The words of an article, book, or some other written thing.
What it means to humanities students: A text doesn’t have to be written to be a text. It can be basically any body of “work” requiring interrogation.

17. Author

What it means to most people: The person who wrote any given text.
What it means to humanities students: Nothing. The author is dead. If you’ve got a problem with that, take it up with Barthes.

18. Privilege

NBC / Via dynarski.pl

What it means to most people: Extra-special rewards.
What it means to a humanities student: The unspoken system of rewards that structures society and propagates continued institutional violence. Pretty much how straight white guys roll.

19. Hegemony

What it means to most people: lol wut r u sure this is a word?
What it means to a humanities student: lol wut r u serious hegemony is practically the only word.

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