Humanities investigate how we understand and interpret our experiences as human beings: who we are and how we relate to one another.
At Akademeia High School, all the humanities subjects work closely together to provide our students with broad interdisciplinary frameworks of how past societies developed and how they influenced the contemporary world. Students are encouraged to examine past events and cultural developments from a number of perspectives: History, Polish, English and World Literature, Philosophy, Religious Studies, History of Art and Visual Culture. Across these subjects, students learn analytical and interpretative methods inherent to each discipline while developing an ability to make connections between different ideas. Our aim is to educate students who not only value but also actively pursue a critical and creative engagement with the world around them.
The Polish curriculum actively stages a dialogue between past and present as well as national and international contexts. It invites students to consider Polish cultural heritage through the prism of contemporary society and their own experiences. Historical texts are studied in conjunction with contemporary literature and in the context of broader visual and material culture including film, mass and popular media.
In the first year of History, students follow an extensive chronological curriculum, focusing on periods and events that had a major impact on the relationship between citizen and state. They also learn the key historical skills of interpreting and evaluating primary and secondary sources as well as understanding causes and effects of historical change. The course prepares students for more in-depth studies in the History A-Level curriculum while providing a contextual background for other humanities.
English and World Literature gives a unique opportunity to study English Literature as part of a wider global culture. Through carefully selected case studies, students develop an ability to independently analyse literary texts while learning how to place them within specific literary contexts and genres. From Norse and Celtic myths, through the legends of King Arthur, Romantic poetry, and twentieth century American drama, the course is a tour de force journey through the history of literature and ideas. It provides an invaluable basis for further studies in English Literature and Languages A Levels.
It is impossible to make sense of the contemporary world without an understanding of the nature of religion and the role that it plays in that world. Religious Studies offers a possibility to investigate the creation and interpretation of religious texts over consecutive historical periods. In their first year, students can thus follow the development of major world religions, something which they can pursue further at A Level, when they also engage with philosophy of religion and ethics.
In History of Art, we study how visual culture can shape and express human relations. The subject introduces key visual analysis skills while inviting students to place past and contemporary artefacts within broader socio-cultural contexts. Art has served as a means of conveying various forms of authority and it has been a mode of interrogating social and cultural conventions. In the History of Art A Level, students are encouraged to build further on these thematic approaches when examining artworks in the light of patronage, status, gender, nationality and ethnicity.
Our Philosophy and Cognitive Science courses do not only teach extensive history of philosophical thought but also encourage students to examine different ways of knowing and how our ethical systems affect life in society. Philosophy complements Humanities and Social Sciences studies, encouraging students to draw across the disciplines while taking an autonomous and self-reflective approach to their learning.
Humanities work closely with the Art and Languages departments. They provide a springboard for students pursuing creative subjects such as Art, Design, and Media, and for those wishing to develop deeper knowledge of other languages and cultures.
Karolina Watras completed her A Levels at the Cheltenham Ladies’ College in the UK. She received her undergraduate degree in History of Art from Christ’s College, Cambridge. Karolina studied Gothic Architecture for a Masters at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London and subsequently returned to Cambridge to pursue her MPhil and doctoral research at Jesus College.