Virginia Tech®home

HIST 1014: Reacting to the Past

In the exciting Pathways course HIST 1014: Reacting to the Past, students role-play historic events like Indian Independence from Britain and the French Revolution.

Reacting to the Past courses are built to challenge students to “adhere to the philosophical and intellectual beliefs of the historical figures they have been assigned to play, but they must devise their own means of expressing those ideas persuasively, in papers, speeches or other public presentations; and students must also pursue a course of action they think will help them win the game.”  

Why take it?

This course is an introduction to fundamental issues in history through historical simulations. Students will enact specific roles in historical situations while improving liberal learning skills, including evaluating evidence, understanding multiple perspectives, writing persuasive essays, and developing public speaking skills.

Specific topics may vary from semester to semester. Previous themes include topics such as History of Violence. Course may be repeated for up to 6 credits. 


There are no prerequisites for this course.

This course fulfills Pathways requirements in Critical Thinking in the Humanities and Ethical Reasoning.

Robert P. Stephens, Associate Professor in History, has utilized his Pathways Development Grant to receive training on this innovative curriculum:

“Utilizing games to fully immerse students in their learning experience has been exhilarating. This group of students is the most engaged and motivated class I’ve ever worked with, and their writing and public speaking have improved dramatically.”

Photo Gallery

reacting to the past class in action
reacting to the past class in action 3