Upper School social studies teacher Meghan Chidsey has published an article with the American Anthropological Association (AAA) titled, “The Need for Anthropology, Earlier: Anthropology at the Secondary Level.” Meghan, who has a PhD in anthropology from Columbia University, describes her own journey of deciding to apply her training to teaching at the high school level, and advocates for introducing the subject of anthropology to students at an earlier age.
Since joining Calhoun in 2016, Meghan has integrated an anthropological lens into the 9th-grade Ancient World History curriculum, and introduced new multi-grade electives such as Introduction to Anthropology. Her article offers a glimpse into some of the hands-on lessons that Upper Schoolers experience in her classes — from identifying hominid skulls and making their own stone tools, to engaging in mock excavations and visiting local museums to analyze the display of human cultures.
These first forays into anthropology have had a clear impact on Upper School students’ worldview. Meghan writes of her Intro to Anthropology elective, “Though the course is a whirlwind of sorts, students note how meaningful even brushing the surface of each subfield is, not only to understanding the field of anthropology but human society at large and their own places within it. Whether they become anthropologists or not, students reflect on the deeper lessons the discipline offers-- respect for difference, the need for ethical and self-reflexive research, and the importance of asking questions to seek understanding and not pursue immediate judgment.”
Watch the video below to hear Upper School students describe their experiences studying anthropology.