The Power and Fate of Republics in Early America: A Reacting to the Past Role Playing Game


In this course (an intermediateHonors seminar) you will examine the experience of Americans from the time of first permanent settlement by English colonists in 1607 to the American Revolution (1770s).  You will explore historical analysis and argument through the examination of the planting, growth, and development of American societies.  You will learn not only the basic data of early American history but also to express that knowledge in written and oral argument that employs evidence to prove historical theses. Most importantly, you will immerse yourself in primary source documents and play historically accurate roles in order to comprehend the complexities of Puritan life and thought in Massachusetts through the trial of Anne Hutchinson and of revolutionary America in New York City, 1775-76.   You will be randomly assigned different roles derived from each historical setting. Your roles are defined largely by the "game objectives."  However, you will write (literally) your own scripts, derived from important texts in the history of ideas.  The heart of each game is persuasion. For nearly every role to which you're assigned, you must persuade others that "your" views make more sense than those of your opponents. Your views will be informed by the texts cited in your game objectives.

            By the end of the course, you will be able to:

-Identify the changing meaning and significance of power and resistance to authority in American society and politics, and relate that to current American ideological issues

-Understand at a visceral level the fundamental ideologies of Puritans and American revolutionaries

-Organize and consolidate material provided in lectures and readings in order to answer essay questions which require comparative analyses, synthetic thinking, and cause/effect linkages.


School of Humanities and Sciences  ·  201 Muller Center  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-3102  ·  Full Directory Listing