Anthropology Has Lost Its A-Level, but Not Its Students

With the New Year fast approaching, it seems appropriate for us to reflect upon the past but also to look towards the future. Today, we are posting an essay written by sixth form student Cherise Jarret, who is special not only for her writing talent but also because she will be amongst the last students in the country to sit an Anthropology A-Level alongside their other exams in the summer of 2018. Many dedicated individuals— most momentously within the RAI – committed four years of precious time and resources to launch this A-Level but sadly, just as it was gaining credence and popularity amongst students, it was axed within the series of cuts made by ‘the government’s reform of A-Levels’ in 2015. In the wake of this event, and as a precursor to Anthropolitan’s spring video series on this topic, we hope this article will inspire readers and stimulate discussion into whether this was a justified move

Editorial Note (Shosha Adie)

Cherise Jarret on the topic ‘Why is Anthropology Important to Me?’


Figure 1: Cherise’s Anthropology ft. their teacher Tomislav Maric , who co-wrote the A-Level textbook for their course. Photo credits: James O’Donoghue

As I walked into the sixth form room as a shy Year 11, rocking thick rimmed glasses and a jumper two sizes too big, I came across a rather tall man standing next to an array of photos from different cultures with the bold heading: Anthropology. With my inner child nudging and prodding at my gut, I made my move to the stand, rather timidly, in what was later to be one of the best decisions I have made. ‘Anthropology is a beautiful, absolutely beautiful subject!’ he said, with a grin wider than his build.

That was me two years ago, and now I can honestly agree and say that Anthropology is a beautiful, culturally stimulating subject that engrosses you into learning about other people’s stories, which we all have. Despite me still rocking the glasses and bed hair look, I feel as though I have crawled more out of my hobbit hole and become more confident within myself to pierce through my protective bubble and interact with people to enrich my curiosity about other ways of life, from past to present.  Anthropology to me is one of those subjects which makes you stop in your tracks and wonder about questions such as, “What makes us human?”, “What other systems of thought are there?”, “How can fragments of objects tell the stories of cultures?” and so forth, allowing your imaginative, inner Curious George to be manifested once more.

However, us A-Level Anthropology students are unfortunately the last to board this train, since as of 2018 it will be axed off our examination board. I was surprised and utterly speechless, as I suppose most people are to this outcome, as Anthropology pinpoints on important topics such as discrimination, racism and prejudiced views which we need to take drastic actions on to allow equality in today’s world. Anthropology allows you to be a more open-minded person and quench your thirst to explore the horizons, find out what is happening in our world, stop exploitation and to provide a voice for people. I always believed that Anthropology should be taught for everyone of all ages, as you are able to walk in another person’s shoes and become less judgemental, as there is much more to a person than what is merely perceived on the surface.

My journey into Anthropology will always continue, as I’d rather be a thinker than a sheep.

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