Patriots, Loyalists, and Revolution in New York City, 1775-1776 (Reacting to the Past)

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9780393937305: Patriots, Loyalists, and Revolution in New York City, 1775-1776 (Reacting to the Past)

Part of the Reacting to the Past series, Patriots, Loyalists, and Revolution in New York City animates the political and social chaos of the American Revolution.

Patriots, Loyalists, and Revolution in New York City, 1775–1776 draws students into the chaos of a revolutionary New York City, where patriot and loyalist forces argued and fought for advantage among a divided populace. Can students realize the liminal world of chaos, disruption, loss of privacy, and fear of victimization that accompanies any violent revolution? How do both the overall outcome and the intermediate “surprises” that reflect the shift of events in 1775–76 demonstrate the role of contingency in history? Could the Brits still win? What were the complexities, strengths, and weaknesses of the arguments on both sides? How were these affected by the social circumstances in which the Revolution occurred?

Students engage with the ideological foundations of revolution and government through close readings of Locke, Paine, and other contemporaries. Each student’s ultimate victory goal is to have his/her side in control of New York City at the end of 1776 (not at the end of the Revolution, when all know who won), as well as to achieve certain individual goals (e.g., slaves can attain freedom, propertied women can be granted voting rights, laborers can make deals for land). Winning requires the ability to master the high politics arguments for and against revolution as well as the low political skills of logrolling, bribery, and threatened force. Military force often determines the winner, much to the surprise of the students who concentrate on internal game politics.

Reacting to the Past is a series of historical role-playing games that explore important ideas by re-creating the contexts that shaped them. Students are assigned roles, informed by classic texts, set in particular moments of intellectual and social ferment.

An award-winning active-learning pedagogy, Reacting to the Past improves speaking, writing, and leadership skills, promotes engagement with classic texts and history, and builds learning communities. Reacting can be used across the curriculum, from the first-year general education class to “capstone” experiences. A Reacting game can also function as the discussion component of lecture classes, or it can be enlisted for intersession courses, honors programs, and other specialized curricular purposes.

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From the Back Cover:

Do students ever ask to come an hour early so that they have more time for class?  Have you ever had perfect attendance for the entire class for a full semester? 

 

“Yes,” report faculty who have taught Reacting to the Past.

 

Reacting to the Past explores important ideas by recreating the historical contexts that shaped them. It consists of elaborate games in which students are assigned roles, informed by classic texts, set in particular moments of intellectual and social ferment.

 

Students “run” each Reacting game, which includes multiples roles for classes ranging in size from thirteen to thirty students and requires from seven to fourteen classroom sessions. Reacting improves speaking, writing and leadership skills, promotes engagement with classic texts and history, and builds learning communities.

 

Reacting can be used for a wide variety of curricular and institutional purposes. Reacting classes–consisting of several games–have provided the foundation for a first-year general education.  Or Reacting can serve as an upper-class “capstone” experience. A Reacting game can also function as the discussion component of large lecture classes; or it can be enlisted for intersession courses, honors programs, and other specialized curricular purposes.

 

Reacting to the Past has been developed under the auspices of Barnard College. It won the Theodore Hesburgh Award (2004), funded by the TIAA-CREF, for pedagogical innovation, and has also received substantial support from the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) of the U.S. Department of Education, the Teagle Foundation, and the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation. With this support, Barnard College hosts a series of conferences throughout the nation at which interested faculty and administrators learn about the curriculum by playing mini-versions of the games.

 

For further information contact the Reacting to the Past Program (Barnard College) or Longman Publishers, or visit the Reacting website: www.barnard.columbia.edu/Reacting

 

Reacting to the Past Program                                              

Barnard College                                                          

3009 Broadway                                                          

New York, NY 10027

reacting@barnard.edu

 

See inside back cover for a complete listing of titles in the Reacting to the Past Series.

About the Author:

William Offutt is Professor of History and Faculty Advisor for the Pforzheimer Honors College at Pace University. He received his AB from Stanford University, and his J.D. from Stanford Law School. Abandoning the law, he then went to graduate school, earning a Ph.D. in Early American History at Johns Hopkins University under Professor Jack P. Greene. His first book, Of Good Laws and Good Men: Law and Society in the Delaware Valley 1680–1710, was published by Illinois University Press. His academic interests focus on the relationship between law and society, particularly the methods by which legal systems obtain and keep their legitimacy. He has taught courses on colonial America, revolutionary America, the Civil War, Constitutional history, and American women’s history. In addition to his own Reacting game, he has taught eight other Reacting games to students at Pace, and he has participated in numerous Reacting conferences as Gamemaster and/or player.

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