Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


History as Hypothesis: Using 'Reacting to the Past' to Teach the French Revolution


History Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


This session presents The "Reacting to the Past" (RTTP) pedagogy as an innovative way to teach key historical events such as the French Revolution of 1789. The purpose of this session is to briefly explain the RTTP pedagogy and then to engage our fellow historians in a mini-version of the French Revolution game. Our goal is to explain and demonstrate how RTTP pedagogy works by having students "learn by taking on roles, informed by classic texts, in elaborate games set in the past; they learn skills speaking, writing, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork in order to prevail in difficult and complicated situations. That is because Reacting roles, unlike those in a play, do not have a fixed script and outcome. While students will be obliged to adhere to the philosophical and intellectual beliefs of the historical figures they have been assigned to play, they must devise their own means of expressing those ideas persuasively, in papers, speeches or other public presentations" in order to achieve their victory objectives.

Conference Name

American Historical Association Annual Conference

Conference Location

New Orleans, LA

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