Arts and Humanities

An innovative research-based approach

Our Vision for Arts and Humanities

We are as ambitious in our work in the Arts and Humanities as we are in our scientific endeavours. The school boasts a thriving Arts and Humanities Society, overseen by Professor Soderholm and Mr Moore, which features weekly lectures from external and internal academics on subjects as wide ranging as the history of Italian unification, Marx, Lenin and Engels, post modernism and the history of art. This is backed up by separate groups including the Nietzsche Reading Group and the Feminist Society. These additional societies form a key part of the academic entitlement at the school and give inspiration to students choosing the topic for their Extended Project Qualification in Year 13. The school enjoys a particularly close relationship with the New College of the Humanities in London.

History of Ideas

The History of ideas course at The Langton runs from Year 10 into Year 12 and is designed to fill the gaps that the school perceives there to be in the country’s curriculum. In year 10 and 11 students attend compulsory lectures on The Renaissance, The Enlightenment, The Rise of Science, Marxism and Modern Psychology which are delivered by academic staff of the school.

In Year 12, students choose from a choice of lectures delivered by academic staff or leading figures in the world of academia designed to stimulate knowledge and understanding and the spirit of academic debate.

What is the Langton doing hiring a Professor of Arts and Humanities?

In a word: Research. The Langton is of course renowned for its innovative research-based approach to the Sciences. Professor James Soderholm has set his sights on bringing the same academic excitement to the Arts and Humanities.

I have lectured widely in Europe on Byron, Romanticism and Aesthetics, including lectures at the Royal Academy of Arts and at the Sorbonne. My fourth book, Platonic Occasions: Dialogues on Literature, Art and Culture will be published this summer by Stockholm University Press. I try to stay active in my scholarly life even as I enjoy re-inventing myself every seven or eight years.

I came to the UK in 2005 because I love the grand narrative connecting Beowulf to Virginia Woolf and I wanted to be immersed in the culture that helped to evolve such impressive literary geniuses. I also hope to knock out a masterpiece by candlelight in my local.

The Langton is easily the most innovative, exuberant and open-minded place I have worked. The senior management let me write my own job description and they have encouraged me to play the Prometheus of the Humanities without, one hopes, suffering his rocky fate. I try to light one fire after another under both students and colleagues in order to support their initiatives and academic dreams.

So far, I have helped to launch the Feminist Society, the Nietzsche Reading Group and I give lectures in the History of Ideas programme. I consult with students on their EPQs and I advise them about American Universities.

In the coming months, I will introduce a TED-like lectures series at The Langton to help professionalise the students and to give them a video-link on their personal statements for university admissions. I also plan to bring in exciting and important lecturers and political figures. Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove will soon visit The Langton and I have hopes of bringing in other cabinet ministers and public intellectuals.

My job at the Langton is to help make the Humanities as richly exciting as our famous Science Department. I will put no satellites into outer space but I do hope to send as many students as possible into another intellectual orbit, the better for them to create their own voyage out, as Woolf might say.