Welcome to the Humanities Journal
Anika B , Anna K & Amber M – Senior Student Editors (Year 12)
We live in an increasingly isolating world of war, climate change and technological reliance; therefore, studying the humanities has become more important than ever in teaching us how to express ourselves, our opinions, and connect with others through a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. The values and cultural identities, that we all possess, can never be replicated by a robot or computer, because they are inherently human qualities that build the foundations of our society. During the pandemic, human connection was temporarily broken, and we all lost something of ourselves when we lost that vital human connection. Yet we did not lose literature. We did not lose our history. We did not lose hope in humanity and its ability to overcome extreme and unprecedented challenges. Instead, we were brought together as a global community by the pain, suffering and compassion that we felt, and likewise, the humanities offer a unique opportunity to understand and express these complicated and enthralling emotions.
The humanities are more than mere subjects we study at school; they are the stories, the words, the concepts that allow us to understand the world we live in, revealing facets of life that are otherwise enigmatic. The power of humanities is its depth and variety, encompassing a timeline of human history: our behaviour, our decisions, our beliefs, which have broadened our knowledge on a social scale, allowing us to gain an insight into the human mind. This variety – variety of life, culture, passions, art, and way of thinking – sustains humanity. The world is not inert: it is dynamic, growing, transforming; yet, from ancient wars to the modern world pandemic, the humanities offer a sense of comfort in their ability to remain constant throughout time. They allow us to reflect on the culture and beliefs of our ancestors and to learn from them – perhaps the greatest strength of the humanities.
Life is not clear-cut: it is filled with nuance, intricacies and complexities that enrich and enhance it. In the same way, humanities explore the subtleties of art, literature, and culture, that can never be defined by one person, but differentiate our interpretations. The fabric of our modern world is woven from a myriad of different opinions, political views, interests, and languages that shape our society, economies, and policies. The world is becoming a startingly polarised place, where views diverge to the extremes and the acceptance and understanding of humans is jeopardised; yet, out of this instability, an appreciation of educating our generation has arisen. Without an insight into our relationship with the environment, the skill of diplomatic compromise, and how economies function, how can we progress as individuals, and ultimately, as a society?
The capacity for humans to learn is something of great beauty. Our minds are powerful and inquisitive tools that allow us to unlock the keys to our souls, emotions, and inner psyche. The GSAL journal provides a space to explore where our minds can take us. It is a platform for creativity and talent to flourish; a forum for discussion, debate, and academic enrichment. It nurtures curiosity to explore the inexhaustible intricacies of life and contribute positively beyond the curriculum. Here, the leaders, philosophers, writers, and citizens of tomorrow can delve into their fascinations and utilise this opportunity to develop their own opinions. This skill plays a vital role in educating our future leaders, preparing them for better decision making, through the ability to think independently.
Pursue your passions. Write about what ignites your curiosity, while expanding the breadth of your knowledge and cultivating creativity. Explore different views and allow this inform your own interpretation. We all possess the unique ability to express our individual thoughts and have the power to share them.
Be passionate. Be curious. Be creative.
Write for the GSAL journal.
Meet the Team
Hi, my name is Anika, and I am the Humanities Editor for the GSAL Journal. My interest for the humanities stems from my childhood love of ancient civilisations and mythological stories. I enjoy exploring these cultures through travel, which has developed my appreciation for these rich traditions and customs. It has also allowed me to broaden my awareness on global economics – a particular passion of mine. The art of negotiation is also a spark of my curiosity as it encompasses strategy, persuasion, and communication which inherently appeal to my love for public speaking, problem – solving and logic. During my free time, I enjoy participating in debating, Model United Nations and reading, which allow me to discuss, understand and discover unique insights on perceptive topics.Anika B
Hi, my name is Amber, and I am the Humanities Editor for the GSAL Journal. I have always been aware of the importance of the humanities, due to its unique ability to broaden our understanding of people and the world. I have a particular interest in history, ranging from ancient civilisations to modern conflicts, which I believe is essential in cultivating an awareness of the lasting consequences that historical events have upon our society today. I also find the study of geopolitical relations, and the art of diplomacy not only fascinating, but crucial for navigating the complexities of modern civilisation. Complementing these interests, I have a genuine love for reading as the beauty of literature is how it encourages us to interpret, understand, and reflect on our world. Outside of lessons, I enjoy debating, public speaking, Model United Nations, and drama.Amber M
Hi, my name is Anna, and I am the Humanities Editor for the GSAL Journal. My interest in the humanities stems from my love for reading, which nurtured an inquisitiveness for a broader understanding of the world. I am interested in all of the humanities’ encompassing subjects, yet I have a particular passion for history, literature, and languages. I am especially passionate about modern foreign languages, as a way of not only communicating with others and exploring different cultures, but also understanding how global history shapes modern international relations. In my free time, I enjoy reading, volunteering, debating and Model United Nations, which all provide me with a greater overview of different interpretations and perspectives.Anna K
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
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