Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
The Faculty of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences will champion our work on ‘making progress towards creating a fair, socially just and inclusive society’.
In a time of volatility, complexity and uncertainty, research and education across the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences are critical to unlocking human creativity, to engaging in a human-centred way with the world around us, and to building the inclusive understanding that will help us to co-create a better future.
The faculty is comprised of nine departments, all of which undertake fundamental discovery research, as well as applied activity and skills development and reflect areas of economic, social and cultural importance. The faculty hosts the University Societies and Cultures Institute (SCI) and the Faculty Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS), which are key structures for further promoting interdisciplinarity within the faculty and across others.
We are committed to world–class scholarship, education and student experience. Our strengths in evaluating the past, our understanding of societies and cultures, our distinctive methodologies and our curiosity and application, enable us to bring human, social, cultural and professional considerations together to deepen disciplinary and cross–disciplinary understanding, to identify and address important future challenges and unlock opportunities.
Welcome to the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences! Our faculty brings together an exciting and diverse range of subjects addressing societal and civilisational development from antiquity to future possibilities.
We are home to some of the leading disciplinary groups globally, and we are also proud of our inter-disciplinary initiatives that focus on the big questions as they emerge, or even before they do, at the local, national, international, and global levels.
Professor Gareth Stansfield
Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean
University Research Institutes
Our interdisciplinary programmes
We are a research intensive Faculty with staff and doctoral students conducting world leading research across all our disciplines. We are committed to delivering the highest calibre research and practice, encouraging a vibrant, collaborative and interdisciplinary culture based around both strategic and critical areas of expertise in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
We have an outstanding record of winning external funding and building partnerships. Our Institutes, centres, networks and groups provide structure and support, promoting interdisciplinary collaboration, knowledge exchange and impact.
Find out more by reading our End of Year Research Report for 2022/23.
Global Engagement is central to the vision of Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. We are proud to work with a wide range of stakeholders, including world-leading universities and alumni to expand our global reach and impact. We support and facilitate our colleagues to establish and strengthen new and existing partnerships, to tackle the great challenges of our time, to foster an environment for the vibrant interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, and to develop opportunities for our staff and students to enrich multicultural experience. We are committed to building an international community for students from more than 120 countries, and creating a globally excellent, socially just, and inclusive faculty.
Our Leadership Team
Professor Gareth Stansfield
Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean
Gareth is Professor of Middle East Politics and is an internationally recognized scholar on the politics of the region, focusing particularly upon conflict causation and management, post-conflict rehabilitation, and the security dynamics of the countries of the Gulf. He has extensive fieldwork experience in a range of countries, and especially Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, and also Syria and Afghanistan.
Gareth was awarded an OBE in the New Years Honours 2024 for services to UK interests in Iraq.
Professor Helen Berry
Professor Helen Berry is Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for HASS. A specialist in eighteenth-century history and prizewinning Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, she has a passion for interdisciplinary research, education and mentoring. She has held a number of leadership roles including Head of the History Department at the University of Exeter, and Head of School (History, Classics and Archaeology), Dean of Postgraduate Studies and Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor in the HASS Faculty at Newcastle University.
Professor Adam Watt
Professor of French & Comparative Literature, FRSA: specialist in the work of Marcel Proust, and, more widely, history of the novel in French. Previously Associate Dean for Research (HUMS) and Head, Modern Languages & Cultures.
Professor Duncan Russel
Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education
Professor Duncan Russel is an environmental scientist who has specialised in public policy, particularly in the areas of biodiversity and climate change. In previous leadership roles, he has served as the Head of The Politics Department and the Associate Dean for Education in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies.
Professor Susan Molyneux-Hodgson
Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact
Professor of Sociology specialising in the field of science and technology studies. Previously at Exeter she was Associate Dean for Research and the Industrial Strategy Champion, in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, and Director of Research for Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology.
Professor Li Li
Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement
Professor Li Li is an applied linguist, specialised in language teacher cognition, higher-order thinking skills, and technology-enhanced language learning. Previously she was Director of Research and Director of Global Engagement at the Graduate School of Education, and Associate Dean Global in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies.
Dr Cathy Durston
Director of Faculty Operations (Interim)
Roo Haywood Smith
Deputy Director of Faculty Operations
Roo is the Deputy Director of Faculty Operations in the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. She originally joined the College of Social Sciences and International Studies in 2012 and prior to joining the Faculty, she worked in the University’s Strategic Delivery Unit and the Living Systems Institute (LSI). Roo has a military background and is the University lead for the Armed Forces Covenant.
Professor Alexandra Allan
Head of Department - School of Education
Alexandra Allan's research interests reside in the Sociology of Education. Broad areas of interest include: gender, social class, ethnicity, academic achievement, and educational transitions (across the different stages in education, from education to employment, and across various career stages/professions).
Professor Rebecca Langlands
Head of Department - Classics, Ancient History, Religion and Theology
Rebecca Langlands is Professor of Classics, researching and teaching in the areas of ancient literature and culture, ethics and exemplarity, the history of sexuality and classical reception.
Professor Jane Milling
Head of Department - Communications, Drama and Film
Jane Milling is Professor of Drama. She researches and teaches on popular and political performance in British theatre of the long eighteenth century and the modern and contemporary.
Professor Vike Plock
Head of Department - English and Creative Writing
Vike Martina Plock is Professor of Modern Literature and Culture. She is the author of several books and of numerous articles and book chapters including Joyce, Medicine, and Modernity (2010), Modernism, Fashion and Interwar Women Writers (2017) and The BBC German Service during the Second World War: Broadcasting to the Enemy (2021).
Professor Clare Saunders
Head of Department - Humanities and Social Sciences, Penryn (Cornwall)
Clare Saunders is Professor of Environmental Politics and Head of Humanities and Social Sciences, Cornwall. She conducts interdisciplinary environmental social science research as a member of the Environment and Sustainability Institute.
Professor Fiona Cox
Head of Department - Languages, Cultures and Visual Studies
Fiona Cox is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature. She was brought up in Worcestershire and educated at the University of Bristol, where she gained a BA in French and Latin and then a PhD for a thesis on Virgil’s Presence in Twentieth Century French Literature.
Professor Naomi Sykes
Head of Department - Archaeology and History
Naomi Sykes is the Lawrence Professor of Archaeology. She researches and teaches on human-animal-environment interactions over the last 10,000 years, exploring how they inform on the structure, ideology and impact of societies, past and present.
Professor Robert Lamb
Head of Department - Social and Political Sciences, Philosophy, and Anthropology
Robert Lamb is a Professor of Political Philosophy. His research and teaching interests lie in the history of political ideas and contemporary political philosophy/theory.
Faculty professional service leads
Faculty organisation structure
Department thematic directors
Information for staff