Research for the Anthropocene -
SSHEAN's work

Publications

McGregor, H.E. (2023). A school for the Anthropocene: Questions about hospitality in a curriculum of existential threat. In P. P. Trifonas & S. Jagger (Eds.), Handbook of Curriculum Theory and Research. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82976-6_29-1

In an effort to define and act on my responsibility to prepare for climate crisis as an education professor, I taught a graduate course designed as a collaborative inquiry around a question: If we were to create a “School for the Anthropocene,” what philosophies, purposes, and structures of education would better serve youth in facing and preparing for the environmental challenges that are upon us? First, when inviting students to envision new forms of crisis-responsive schooling, I did not shy away from putting individual and collective mortality at the center of our discussions. Second, I insisted we should dispense with any and all schooling frameworks or constraints within which we usually work, for the sake of the exercise (e.g., jurisdictional curriculum mandates, subject areas, assessment norms, etc.). By perhaps hasty design, these moves opened the door to existential threat for my students. I narrate these choices and my view of the outcomes to provoke consideration of the uncomfortable responsibility of the teacher who is guiding their guest through facing climate crisis, who welcomes students to their own mortality as well as our collective mortality, and the kinds of responses that such teaching work may evoke.

Brant-Birioukov, K., Pind, J., Karn, S., & McGregor, H. E. (2023). Towards Indigenous place-based metaphors for environmental history education. In M. Kress-White & K. Horn-Miller, (Eds.), Land as Relation: Teaching and Learning through Place, People and Practices. Canadian Scholars’ Press.

McGregor, H. E., Karn, S., Evans, R. S. & Pind, J. (2022). Piloting historical thinking lessons to address climate change, Canadian Social Studies, 53(1), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.29173/css39

To demonstrate how the history classroom could become an important site for addressing climate change, this article describes the piloting of three lessons. Our qualitative case study occurred in an elective environmental education course with teacher candidates who participated in the lessons and were invited to provide feedback. We describe the lessons and their development, and share results from surveys and an interview. Participants identified several educational benefits and expressed feeling better prepared to teach both history and critical thinking in general. Our findings suggest that these lessons may serve as useful examples for developing new resources to support educators in teaching climate change alongside critical and historical thinking.

McGregor, H. E., Pind, J. & Karn, S. (2021). A ‘wicked problem’: Rethinking history education in the Anthropocene, Rethinking History, 25(4), 483-507. https://doi.org/10.1080/13642529.2021.1992159

In seeking to attune history education to a relational, ecological, and ethical future orientation, we turned to scholarship in other fields that teach similar or proximate outcomes: Indigenous studies, environmental history, and climate change education. We suggest that the challenge in history is not just teaching about climate variation over time and its consequences, but also recognizing that the Anthropocene is a multidimensional phenomenon requiring adaptation in ways of being and understanding ourselves. We draw on the literature in each of the above-mentioned fields to leverage theory, content, and pedagogical cues to begin envisioning how history teachers and learners can seek meaning, when the terms within which we have made meaning in the past may slip away. In this article, we offer a prospective agenda for provoking history education to make significant change, particularly in Canada where we are situated. Our suggestions for history teaching and learning practice may be deployed in many different contexts to help educators confront the climate crisis. As historians and educators, we must provide these opportunities to learn about the past because as Davis and Todd state, ‘the story we tell ourselves about environmental crises, the story of humanity’s place on the earth and its presence within geological time determines how we understand how we got here, where we might like to be headed, and what we need to do’.

McGregor, H. E., Pind, J. & Karn, S. (2022). Listening, witnessing, connecting: Histories and storytelling in the Anthropocene. In A. J. Farrell, C. L. Skyhar & M. Lam (Eds.), Teaching in the Anthropocene (pp. 69-81). Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Forthcoming

Other Contributions

Karn, S. & McGregor, H.E. (2022, April 28). What can history educators learn from environmental education? Part 2 [Blog Post]. Network in Canadian History and Environment.

Karn, S. & McGregor, H.E. (2021, December 7). What can history educators learn from environmental education? Part 1 [Blog Post]. Network in Canadian History and Environment.

Funding Record

Year(s)

Source, Role, Title

Total Amount

2023-24

Queen’s Faculty of Education SEED Grant

$ 4,842

2021-23

SSHRC Insight Development Grant

Teaching the Past to Prepare for the Future:
Social Studies and History Education in the Anthropocene

$ 59,609

2020-22

SSHRC Institutional Grant

$ 7,000

2020-21

Queen’s Faculty of Education SEED Grant

$ 4,890

2019-22

Queen’s Research Initiation Grant

$ 15,000

Presentations

McGregor, H. E. & Evans, R. (2023). Climate change responsive social studies, history, and citizenship education. Panel at the North American Association for Environmental Education [online].

McGregor H.E., Karn, S. & Flavin, M. (2023, May 28). Social studies & history education in the Anthropocene: Building a network and reimagining together. Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies (CACS) at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE). Toronto, ON.

Evans, R. & McGregor, H. E. (2023, May 28). Identifying and extending the edges of Ontario’s citizenship framework for supporting climate action. Canadian Association of Foundations of Education (CAFE-ACÉFÉ) at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE). Toronto, ON.

McGregor H.E., & Karn, S. (2022, December 8). Centring Indigenous perspectives in climate change-responsive history & social studies education: Barriers, strengths, & suggestions. Presentation, Teach Climate History.

McGregor, H.E., Karn, S. & Pind, J. (2022, October 15). Reimagining Ontario’s grade 10 history curriculum in the Anthropocene. Paper presented at Canadian History of Education Association/Association canadienne d’histoire de l’éducation. Victoria, BC. 

McGregor, H.E., Karn, S., & Pind, J. (2022, May 16). A place for history: Historical thinking lessons for climate change education. Panel at Canadian Historical Association. Remote. 

McGregor, H. E., van Kessel, C., Karn, S. & Pind, J. (2021, June). Urgent call: History and social studies teachers for climate change education. Panel held at Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies. Remote.

McGregor, H. E. (2021, May). Start with what you love: Supporting history teachers (and everyone else) in the Anthropocene. Invited presentation at Faculty Share 2.0. Queen’s University. Remote.

Conferences Attended

National Roundtable Climate Change Education in Teacher Education, Accelerate, 23 November 2023.

Institute for Climate Change Education, Climate Generation, 22-24 July, 2020 & 28-30 July, 2021.

NAAEE Conference & Symposium, Oct 4-15, 2021.

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