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Mark Carnes: Receives AHA Award for best article on teaching history

Historians in the News




Mark Carnes, professor of history at Barnard, has received the American Historical Association's award for the the best article on teaching history.

The article, entitled"Inciting Speech," can be read at the following link: www.barnard.edu/reacting/commentary.htm.

The article describes an innovaative approach Mr. Carnes developed to help students understand the past:"Reacting to the Past."

"Reacting to the Past," pioneered by Barnard College, consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned"roles" with"victory objectives" informed by classic texts in the history of ideas. Class sessions are run entirely by students; instructors advise and guide students and grade their oral and written work. Although a majority of the schools in the consortium conceive of Reacting as a first-year general education course, some fit it into the curriculum as an upper-level seminar. One reason why existing consortium members seek additional member institutions is to expand the pool of faculty specialists to collaborate in developing new games.

First offered at Barnard College in the fall of 1995, Reacting has undergone considerable development and expansion. This fall, over forty faculty from five colleges are offering"Reacting" classes, which normally consist of three"games" a semester. Existing games, most of which consist of several hundred pages of rules and advisories, include:"Democracy at the Threshold: Athens in 403 BC,""Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor, 1587 AD,""The Trial of Anne Hutchinson, 1637,""Rousseau, Burke and Revolution in France, 1791," and"Defining a Nation: Gandhi and India on the Eve of Independence, 1945."

The website featuring Reacting was chosen by HNN last year as Website of the Month.


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