Reacting to the Past

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Argue against Galileo’s detractors, debate the French Revolution, and defend the ideas of your teacher Socrates!

In Reacting to the Past students have the opportunity to experience a unique role-playing curriculum in which they take the place of historic figures and experience history in a new way. Moving beyond traditional lectures and readings, each Reacting to the Past class or game will investigate a unique moment in history as students debate, argue, and reenact the concerns, protests, and difficult decisions of historical figures. Embroiled in the plights of each historical actor, Reacting to the Past games become emotional, enlightening experiences as students decipher the forces at play on historical individuals and the importance of the choices they make. Reacting to the Past changes history from memorization of rote dates, places, and causes to a complex narrative of individuals and their choices.

Reacting to the Past was introduced to the University of Utah by award winning Distinguished Honors Professor Ann Engar who has taught the course for six years. Professor Engar has also presented nationally on RTTP through multiple panels, published on the social networking of RTTP, and appears in the book Minds on Fire by RTTP founder Mark Carnes.

Reacting to the Past classes are currently taught by professors Ginger Smoak, Patricia Rohrer, and Ann Engar.

Reacting to the Past

HONOR 2105,2106 & 2107 

Taught in Spring

Fulfills HF and HON requirements

Former RTTP Student Comments

“There is no lecture in Reacting, and you HAVE to engage and listen or you will be hopelessly lost. The competition is more fierce than in a traditional lecture class but without  major consequences.”

“In a reacting class students have the option of interacting with the rest of the class throughout the period while in traditional lecture courses, the interaction is limited.  Also, the professor takes a back seat in a reacting class, and the class is run by the students.”