Leadership: Perspectives from the Humanities (Module 1)

As part of a great university, Oxford Saïd aims to make the wider intellectual richness of Oxford available to its students and staff in various ways—for example, by engaging with ideas, activities and scholarship from the humanities. Humanities scholars have been thinking and writing about leadership for 3,000 years; and Oxford has been at the centre of that thinking for close to 900 years. The work of historians, philosophers, classicists, as well as the study of literature and artefacts from diverse cultures and traditions, can shed light on most challenges that concern business school students. The study and performance of drama and music can develop perspectives on leadership and communication that are valuable in other contexts, including companies and organizations. And the pursuit of critical questions with a spirit of humane enquiry can expand and enhance our appreciation of value.

In short, leadership learning happens in more ways than are dreamt of in the Social Sciences. Thus the purpose of this course is to widen and enrich your management learning in ways that are not achievable elsewhere. Students should expect to experience ideas and practices that are increasingly essential to meeting the wide and rich opportunities and challenges you’ll face in your careers—as leaders and as humans.

No prior knowledge is expected; instead, be willing to engage actively in class discussion, external activities, and critical debate.