We will be holding a "Reacting to the Past" workshop at the CHS in Washington, D.C. from June 27 to 30, 2007 for faculty who teach Classics courses and want to invigorate their courses with this new pedagogy. Conference participants will play "The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 BCE" and "Beware the Ides of March: Rome in 44 BCE" and will learn how to teach these games to students at their home institutions.
"Reacting to the Past" is an innovative pedagogy developed at Barnard College by Professor of History Mark Carnes. The program won the prestigious Theodore Hesburgh Award in 1994 for creative pedagogy and more recently a grant from the Teagle Foundation, headed by Robert Connor. Reacting courses focus on pivotal moments in world history; students are assigned a "role" in a historical situation and "play" the "game" by making historically-grounded arguments from the point of view of their assigned characters. Reacting students improve their communication and public speaking skills, connect deeply with historical periods, and revolutionize the way they learn. Students who play Reacting games conduct research, write papers, deliver speeches, and argue for a cause alongside their classmates. Many students have commented that the history they learned through Reacting became their own history. The Reacting program currently offers about twenty modules of "games" designed to enable undergraduates to engage in new ways with historical texts and historical crises.
If you are interested in learning more about Reacting or in teaching a Reacting to the Past course, please apply for this upcoming Reacting conference. The two Reacting games we will be playing – "The Threshold of Democracy" and "Beware the Ides of March" – should be of particular interest to classicists. Instructors have integrated the first game, authored by Mark Carnes and Josiah Ober, into classical culture courses and have also modified it for upper-division courses. The second game, authored by Keith Dix and Carl Anderson, is in development and is making its debut at this workshop.
We have spaces for 30 participants who need housing in the D.C. area and perhaps for more who can find their own housing.
Contact Kenny Morrell at the Center for Hellenic Studies, 3100 Whitehaven Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008. Telephone: (901) 843-3821; Email: kmorrell AT chs.harvard.edu.
For more information on Reacting to the Past, visit: www.barnard.edu/reacting .