Reacting to the Past: Athens and Revolution in France
Level:

In “Athens, Greece, 403 BCE” students, as Athenians, reestablish the polis after war and tyranny, debating amnesty, citizenry, education and foreign policy. In “France, 1791” students, as members of the parliament, formulate a constitution that redistributes power differently from the ancien regime, determining the direction of the revolution in progress.

Through role-playing, students investigate large questions of historical causation. The class is constructed as a set of games that unfold unpredictably. Students run all game sessions; instructors advise factions and grade oral and written work. At the end of each game portion, in a series of post-mortem explorations, instructors set forth what did happen historically and compare “real” history to what happened in the classroom version.