Editorial: GSAL Humanities Journal 2019-20

Mei – Year 13 Student & Chief Editor, Humanities Journal

As this wholly bizarre term draws to a close, the time comes when one must reflect. To pause, and look back at how far one has changed, one has evolved, one has grown. Reflection is something that has escaped me somewhat. In a time which seems to slip away so quickly, when the days and weeks seem to amalgamate into a messy jumble of accelerated time, it is only now I have taken the necessary pause to contemplate the transformation of the Humanities Journal. From its nascent beginnings to its flourishing actuality, I have witnessed not only the growth of the Journal, but also the growth of the writers which it feeds upon. The variation of styles; the idiosyncrasies of every author. This is what enthuses me most about being both an editor and a writer myself – working with a melange of styles every time I come to edit, taking inspiration from them to shape my own literary identity, and learning something new from every article. The Humanities Journal has indubitably provided me with a platform to delve into fresh depths of study beyond my classical interests; whilst Oliver’s (Y11) excellently analysed article on the Rommel Myth fed my historical hunger, Eddie’s (Y12) detailed and thoughtful exploration of the mechanisms of incarceration brought my fascination with the justice system back to the forefront of my mind. Ella’s (Y12) upcoming contemplation on racial injustice is strikingly powerful, highlighting the main issue that besets modern society, and emphasising the need to defeat it.

Every one of the Journal’s 20 entries have been meticulously crafted, extensively researched and well considered. Thomas (Y12) writes with an erudite flair on the evolution of the French language, appreciating historical, cultural and linguistic factors within his first extended essay for the Journal. The natural power of analysis he possesses is striking, and I look forward to reading his work in the future. Similarly, Jamie (Y12), a frequent and deeply valued contributor to the Journal, writes masterfully, and with an extraordinary sense of control; I have witnessed his development as an author this year, in both his opinion pieces and academically focused work. Notable contributions from Jamie include the Labour party desertion, work on Genghis Khan, exploring how knowledge of the past can aid us in preparing for the 21st century and a brilliant final piece on Mansion Tax. In the same vein of rich political form, James (Y12), with his enthralling and extensive knowledge of current affairs, contributed early in the academic year with an enthusiastic reflection on the 2019 election from a Labour party perspective; James has also written on numerous occasions for the wider Journal, and must certainly be distinguished as an experienced and skilled author.

However, what has impressed me the most is the willingness of those lower down the school to involve themselves in the Humanities Journal. Age has proved no barrier to these writers; I am captivated by both the professionalism with which they have conducted themselves, and the immense quality of work that has been produced. My most sincere congratulations must begin with Anika, who as a Year 9 student is our youngest contributor; her essay on the US/China Trade War is driven by both the style and the knowledge of a writer far beyond her years, testament to her incredible authorship. I am greatly anticipating her future work, and am pleased to have been able to work with someone exhibiting such talent from an early age. Year 11 has also demonstrated itself to be a year group endowed with many skilful and mature authors; Francesca, whose diligence and strong analytical flair has impressed me over the last month, has made an excellent philosophical contribution to the Journal, examining Kant’s enlightenment, and the role of Rousseau within it. On the topic of philosophy, Matthew, an adept writer inspired by a talk hosted by Richard Dawkins, has collected his thoughts within a meaningful essay, titled ‘Outgrowing God: myth or reality?’. His inter – disciplinary approach, including colourful evaluations of biology as well as religious studies, make it a valuble read for all. Furthermore, through her examination of the historiography of the British Empire, I have been thoroughly impressed by the work of Eshana, whose ability to closely evaluate historical material and reference her article with great precision is characteristic of a student far more advanced in years.

Geographical contributions to the Humanities Journal are another one of its defining features. Arda (Y12) begins this rich, academically passionate trend with his article on space as a new frontier, exhibiting extensive subject knowledge in what is a detailed and evaluative piece. I am pleased to hear of his plans to write on both epistemology and metaphysics over the summer, and look forward to their incorporation within the Journal come September. Hot on his heels, Adella (Y11) produced an excellent article on climate change, utilizing both geographic and photographic evidence as part of her argument; her broad range of evidence is very admirable, as is her ardent passion for the prevention of further global warming. Concluding this section of essays is the talented Elazia, writing at the end of May; her exploration of natural resource extraction, with a focus upon coal mining is both an enlightening and emotive read, with her clever use of an anecdote to start the piece serving as its defining feature.

On a personal level, the Humanities Journal has given me an indispensable platform as an editor, but also as a writer myself; from my first essay on Ching Shih, to my scholarly efforts on the Carolingian Empire, to my final two pieces on the rage of Achilles and the Oxyrhynchus papyri, I feel as though I have grown tremendously. All I can attribute this to is the authors that comprise the very heart of the Journal. It is their passion and zeal for their subject specialisms that motivate me every day; all I can offer to them is my deepest appreciation.

It has been a fabulous first year for the Humanities Journal, despite being a year afflicted by unforeseen challenges. To the writers: well done. Nourish your hearts with the joy of learning over the summer, and we’ll be waiting for you with more writing suggestions when you return in September. For those of you moved by the enthusiasm evidenced above, there is only one thing to do. Pick up a pen. Write. Be inspired.

Mei 620640

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