Integrating Arts: Cultural Anthropology and Expressive Culture in the Social Studies Curriculum
California State University, Northridge
Social studies is the combined study of several disciplines including cultural anthropology where expressive culture is defined and described. Expressive culture is the processes, emotions, and ideas bound within the social production of aesthetic forms and performances in everyday life. It is a way to embody culture and to express culture through sensory experiences such as dance, music, literature, visual media, and theater. By integrating the arts into social studies, students are introduced to cultural ideals, traditions, and norms inherent in their own lives. This article describes the use of cultural anthropology as a vehicle to teach social studies concepts with visual and performing arts. Two examples of coequal social studies and arts units are examined in second and sixth grades.
Keywords: cultural anthropology, arts, social studies, integration, expressive culture, coequal model