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Reacting to the Past

HNRS 2033 Sec. 1 - Fall 2018

Associate Professor/Ogden Honors College Dean Leslie Tuttle/Jonathan Earle Department of History

M W F 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
French House 135

Reacting to the Past is an innovative way to study history. The dynamics of history come alive through elaborate simulations in which students play the roles of historical characters. In Fall 2018, the course focuses on two key moments in modern history: 

Rousseau, Burke, and Revolution in France, 1791 plunges students into the intellectual, political, and ideological currents that surged through revolutionary Paris in the summer of 1791. Students are leaders of major factions within the National Assembly (and in the streets outside) as it struggles to create a constitution amidst internal chaos and threats of foreign invasion. Will the king retain power? Are slaves, women, and Jews entitled to the “rights of man”? Is violence a legitimate means of changing society or of purging it of dangerous enemies? In wrestling with these issues, students consult Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract and Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, among other texts. 

Kentucky, 1861: Loyalty, State, and Nation in the Shadow of the Civil War pulls students into the secession crisis following Abraham Lincoln's 1860 election. During a special session of the Kentucky legislature, set against the looming threat of violence and civil war, players grapple with questions about the future of slavery and the constitutionality of secession. 

Grades are based on active participation in class discussion and debates, written assignments composed in the voice of one’s character, and a midterm and final exam that test historical understanding of the events we study. NB: Success in this course depends on regular attendance and participation. Questions? write to or 

Fulfills General Education:

English Composition
Social Sciences