Subject: English Literature and Philosophy
Student status: Home, Graduate
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I think the thing that I love about English and Philosophy is that you can explore so much with the two in very different ways.  And so with English just by looking at one book you can cover sociology, history and you can look at culture, languages all kinds of different issues like gender identity in a broader sense, a whole range of topics.  Similarly with Philosophy you know you can study the philosophy of most things and so you really can look at anything. 

I think they both give you a way of looking at the world but in quite different ways.  With English you are using a text or a piece of work to look at the world and of course you are analysing the way that it's presented not just the topic that it's covering and I found that really interesting.  With Philosophy you're exploring lots of different ideas between people throughout the ages and they do tie in together quite well. 

I had to do a joint dissertation and it was quite daunting because you're bringing two subjects together, you've never done a joint piece of work on the two subject areas even though they overlap.  Very challenging but really rewarding as well because its I guess a third way of approaching a subject. And so I was looking at how the philosophy of art and one particular dramatist interact I found that really interesting.  With the two subjects I think they've both been accurse of not being very relevant to the world but actually I think they can be incredibly and I've seen how relevant they can be.

You mentioned the subjects being relevant to the world it would be interesting to know how you feel it's relevant to you as a person, how you see yourself.  And again if you could say about you feel those subject are relevant to the world.

I think the third year gave me an opportunity to explore modules that really helped me to develop my kind of identity. For instance I studied literature from black British immigration fiction and that was really interesting and I think that's probably partly why I've become more interested in equal opportunities and how race, gender and class interact with each other.  I've always campaigned and sort of been interested in I guess injustices in the world but it has kind of focused it to looking at particular injustices that were presented in literature, an experience of people's lives. And similarly with Philosophy in the final year I looked at the philosophy of law, crime and punishment.  I found it really interesting looking at the idea of when and how you should punish somebody, which is obviously a really important question.  And unfortunately something I've had to think about in my job this year disciplinary things. 

Similarly environment ethics was really, really relevant to me because I've campaigned on a range of environmental issues and quite often involves explaining to people why you feel passionate about for example climate change, or why you think its important to save electricity that kind of thing.  It's a really good opportunity to actually reflect, not just convincing other people but convincing myself well why should we be doing whatever it is, why should we be saving energy.  And thinking more about the environment as a whole and so not just how it affects people but other species as well and it really made me question you know are there some things you're doing because you're I guess species-biased because you naturally have this inclination to want to protect your own species. When actually there are things you could be doing with regard to the environment that would help other species a lot more.