Event Title

Using Wargames To Teach The Critical Analysis Of Historical Sources

Presentation Type

Presentation

Location

Student Life Center 2101

Start Date

10-3-2019 1:35 PM

End Date

10-3-2019 2:00 PM

Abstract

Students interactively learn the complexities of the historical process by participating in an historical event--a "wargame"--and then creating an "archive" they later use.

Description

This presentation describes the use of a wargame to actively involve students in the historical method through the creation of “primary sources” they later use to write an analytical paper. This assignment has been used at different universities in history courses to great success. Professional historians must analyze a host of often conflicting sources about their subject written by biased humans. While the reading about the historical process and visiting with archivists are helpful, these are nevertheless passive forms of learning, and their lessons may not adhere. Students often continue to view primary sources as authoritative in their research, and fail to think critically about bias in archival documents. With this assignment, students actively create and participate in an historical event—the wargame—which is essentially capture the flag with water balloons. Then, students create primary sources, such as letters home, “newspaper” reports, etc., and use this “archive” to write a cogent, analytical research paper of the event itself. The wargame makes the historical process transparent for students, as they can see every step along the way of how historians practice their craft: they experience the chaotic event itself; they participate in the creation of the primary sources about the event; and they have to evaluate the often conflicting sources in order to offer their interpretation as to why one team won or lost the battle. In other words, they have to “impose order on the chaos” of evidence about their historical event.

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Oct 3rd, 1:35 PM Oct 3rd, 2:00 PM

Using Wargames To Teach The Critical Analysis Of Historical Sources

Student Life Center 2101

Students interactively learn the complexities of the historical process by participating in an historical event--a "wargame"--and then creating an "archive" they later use.