Dr. Michaele Ferguson

Why do people decide to overthrow their governments and invent new political institutions to take their place? It can be hard for us to relate to revolutionary times if we have not lived in them ourselves. However, many theoretical and philosophical texts have been written and political theories put forward as to why people attempt to overthrow governments. Understanding the moral, political and social basis for revolution is a critical component of discussing why revolution is still an option being adopted by communities today. In this class, therefore, we recreate the conditions of the American and French Revolutions through elaborate and extended simulations. Students will research the ideas, political context and social relationships that influenced their assigned characters, and work together in factions to try to foment or stave off revolution. While the simulations are grounded in our study of historical documents, events may take a very different path from the one we know from history as students strategize, connive and reason their way to victory! Along the way, we will develop skills in critical thinking, persuasive writing, public speaking, political organizing, leadership and teamwork.