Welcome to the Humanities Journal
Oliver L & Anna P – Chief Editors (Year 12)
Eshana D, Lilian T & Hannah W – Deputy Editors (Year 12)
The study of humanities is a study of what defines us. Encompassing humanity’s past, present and future, its vast array of skills and subjects complement each other perfectly. Philosophy, history, literature, languages; all coalesce to give their students a window into the human condition so that we may better understand ourselves. Humanities are not an empirical discipline. There is, of course, a logic behind French verbs or Kant’s philosophy, but what makes humanities so enticing and enriching is their lack of structure and regularity. Much of the emotion we derive from a piece of literature or art cannot be quantified or justified, nor should it be. We can debate the niceties of our subjects like any other educational discipline, yet at the end of the day, each of us has our own interpretations and beliefs; there are no right or wrong answers to any of them. Humanities are a blank canvas for creativity and individuality, a clean slate with no boundaries or limitations.
The GSAL Humanities Journal aims to be a forum for all to express their own interpretations, creations and analysis on just about anything to do with this great and noble discipline. Students from a range of ages have dealt maturely with the depths of human depravity in discussing Genghis Khan or Nazism, as well as recognizing the heights of wisdom and understanding what we as a species are capable of, be they the Enlightenment or democracy. Others have tackled today’s issues in all their controversy, and the Journal includes reflections on issues as urgent as racism or superpower strife. But whilst many articles have offered valuable insights and opinions on current affairs and the past, as well as what the future may hold, others have taken the opportunity to create something entirely new, whether it be a piece of literature, art or music. We wish to encourage creativity, freedom of expression, and celebrate deviation from the prerequisites and assumptions we form around the humanities: what they stand for and how they are portrayed. The subjects represented in these works may appear startlingly different, but all have one thing in common. They symbolise the love of learning and thirst for knowledge that embody the Humanities.
We are currently facing an unprecedented crisis which, for what may be the first time in history, has impacted every single person in the world. A result of this is social distancing, which has produced an almost exclusive reliance on technologically mediated relations. When social contact is prey to impersonal pixilation and glitching audio, alternative forms of expression are crucial. Unfortunately, contrary to the trope of ‘artists in isolation’, for the majority of us the home has become the workplace. In this context, the Humanities Journal aims to provide an open space inviting you to explore and share whatever interests you.
As student editors, we urge all reading this message to engage with the Journal and share with the wider community their unique insights and skills, not only to broaden their understanding, but to help develop others’ as well. We hope to emphasise the power of the collective in bringing together ideas and in doing so, inspiring each other to think differently, question our own beliefs, and support other people’s. The act of consuming knowledge is perhaps only trumped by the act of sharing it. The key to the GSAL Journal is not only being inspired, but inspiring others in the process. OL & AP
Meet the Team
Hello, I’m Anna, I’m an aspiring reader, writer, and musician. I have a particular love for all sorts of poetry, literary fiction, and creative non-fiction. I enjoy the theoretical, the blurring of lines, reinvention, and thinking about questions of identity. I also like to read about language and think about the relationship between language and ideas. Recently, in my spare time I’ve been playing music, watching films, and attempting to teach myself new things, including some amateur drawing and guitar.Anna P
Hi, I’m Eshana! I love History and English Literature, especially combining the two to explore how literature gives us an insight into history and popular attitudes at that time, and how knowledge of history can enrich the reading of certain texts. I think it’s really interesting to learn about history that isn’t necessarily as well known about, and I like to consider different explorations and interpretations of literary characters. Outside of lessons, I also do Model UN, play the piano, and I love to read and write.Eshana D
Hi, I’m Hannah! I love history and languages, and I also have a particular interest in world religions. I like to think about the impact historical events have had on our society today and speculate on what life might have been like for ordinary people living in the past. I also love delving into different languages: how they have evolved; patterns and written forms; and how they differ from English are just a handful of the things that interest me. I also really enjoy exploring different parts of theology and looking at how religions relate to one another, yet hold particular significance for certain individuals. Away from school, I like reading, debating, musical improvisation and looking after my two rabbits.Hannah W
Hi, I’m Lilian! I love creative writing, poetry and literature, as well as debating the deep questions of ethics and all things philosophical. My favourite forms of writing are narratives and poetry; however, I also like digging into essays questioning reality, consciousness or literary characters (a favourite of mine being Mr Jay Gatsby himself). Outside of academia, I am a musician at heart and particularly enjoy classical music, along with musical theatre and folk.Lilian T
Hi, I’m Oliver! I have a passion for history, literature and politics. My favourite areas of history include the ancient Mediterranean world and anything to do with military strategy, especially the World Wars. Of particular interest to me is the art of diplomacy and negotiation, and I enjoy public speaking, debating and the study of geopolitics. A board gaming fanatic, I collect historical war-games. Whilst hideously out of my depth scientifically, I also have a childhood love of dinosaurs!Oliver L
Editor 2019 & 2020
Mei W – Chief Editor
The dictionary defines Humanities as ‘an academic focus that studies aspects of human society and culture’. Yet humanities are so much more. In a world that is current, and sometimes even urgent, humanities embody both the past and the future through a plethora of academic pursuits that provide a key to an innate love of learning. The humanities incorporate a multitude of disciplines under a single roof, amalgamating studies that emanate from different origins and supplying an ongoing opportunity for fresh discovery and the enrichment of knowledge. Humanities indubitably form the basis of our world.
In this publication I aim to embody the ethos of the humanities: through participation in learning and the broadening of our mindsets far beyond the scope of a school curriculum, fields of study once unheard of can become deeply-ingrained passions. From the 1940 African Campaign to the fallacy of democracy, the sheer range of topics you can unearth are endless. Allow yourself to become immersed in the philosophy of Richard Dawkings, the ‘fons et origo’ of Eastern Naval feminism, the brutal pillaging of Genghis Khan in 12th Century Mongolia, and so much more. Open your mind to the reverie and zeal so inherently attached to humanities: enjoy the first edition of what I hope will become a long-established part of academic life at GSAL.
At this moment in time, I would like to thank all of the authors who have already contributed to the Journal, and have toiled in their careful research and crafted articles; your publications form the heart of this project, and I am filled with gratitude at your ambassadorship and conscientiousness.
As this editorial welcome draws to a close, I will leave you with this powerful sentiment:
Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter.Your knowledge is nothing when no one else knows that you know it.
Pick up a pen. Write. Be inspired.
To get involved, please feel free to contact me here or via my school email, or speak to either me or Mr Dodd in school if you have any other queries. If you would like to be added to the mailing list or Team, please do get in touch. MW