I have long struggled to establish anthropology as a subject to be taught outside the university setting, particularly as an A-level subject in schools.
Anthropology, as the philosopher Immanuel Kant famously defined it, is the study of what makes us human. It is thus an absolutely vital subject in our multicultural society. Indeed, the French long ago recognised this in making anthropology a constituent part of the Baccalauréat.
In 2010, anthropology was introduced as an A-level subject and has flourished and developed in many schools and colleges since then; a school textbook in anthropology is being published this year by Polity Press.
I have just learned that the AQA exam board is to drop anthropology as an A-level subject. Apparently exam boards now decide what is to be taught in our schools. It is of vital importance that our young people learn something about “other cultures” – the study of which has always been the hallmark of anthropology.
Emeritus professor of anthropology
Goldsmiths, University of London