95 Years of Teaching High School Sociology

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Teaching Sociology


American Sociological Association

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

A neglected part of the history of teaching sociology is the history of teaching high school sociology. The American Sociological Association's centennial in 2005 affords sociologists an opportunity to reflect on the teaching of sociology-anywhere and everywhere that it happens. In the spirit of contributing to the history of teaching sociology in the United States, this paper outlines the roughly 95-year history of the teaching of high school sociology. I rely upon published course descriptions written by high school sociology teachers and empirical studies conducted by academic sociologists. They demonstrate that past high school sociology courses have focused primarily on examining social problems and current events, and on promoting citizenship education. This remains the case today. I offer several reasons why the courses have looked as they have over the past 95 years, and conclude with four predictions about the future of teaching high school sociology.