Review Comment

Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

January 07, 2020

Postlewate, Laurie Gold_nugget
[BC2001] Reacting to the Past and Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

Gamemaster Laurie, as she has us call her, is awesome, as is this class. At first, I was afraid about what I signed up for when we were given a bunch of dense primary source readings about Athens for our first game, which is Athenian Democracy, but once you get through the stage of reading and discussion before the game starts (which is not very long), it's amazing. Anyone who likes arguing and debating will like this class, and there are all kinds of fun things thrown in to lighten up debates when things get tense, such as snacks, and random tasks like wearing a certain outfit or writing a poem. The last game, which is Greenwich Village 1913 during the suffrage and labor movements, is personally my favorite unit, since the characters are often people you have heard of and you can talk about interesting issues. Being that it's a small class, you also get to work with people and get to know them, something I could not get in any lectures. GM Laurie is very kind and also has a good sense of humor, and really makes an effort in working with her students by encouraging one-on-one meetings. The class is quite a bit of work at some points in the semester - the Athens game, for instance, has a lot of reading and a strict format for speeches, and sometimes you'll have a speech and a writing assignment close together, but it's one of those rare classes where it is still manageable and working hard often yields good results. I highly recommend this class for FYS.

Workload:

Readings - heavier before game starts, less during them
Speeches - 3-4/semester, about 2-3 pages
Writing Assignments - 4 in the semester, varying length but usually 1500 words or so. First three you there is a mandatory revision where you meet with GM Laurie, none for the last paper.
Group/Faction Meetings - it's not a mandatory thing, but you'll find yourself doing this a few times in the semester since there are often factions in the games where everyone has the same goal, or has to present something together
Field Trip to Museum

Generally speaking, grading is not harsh - meet with her before revisions are due for the writing assignments to ensure clear feedback, as sometimes what is written on the paper she gives back isn't clear.

December 11, 2018

Carnes, Mark Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

Sweet man with big goals, this class was definitely the most unique class I will take! Carnes places your class into a historic setting and you "play" the characters, reading works from the time and writing speeches and speaking in front of your classmates for votes. A combination of history, philosophy, acting, and a good practice for writing and speaking skills. Sometimes he's a scatterbrain, but you know he has the best intentions. We love Mark!

Workload:

2 weeks of heavy readings (some people just skip the readings and use the internet), and then 3 weeks of writing / speaking. You're expected to write / speak for 10 pages worth of content per quarter, which can be anywhere between 2-5 speeches in a 3 week span. Speaking and writing is graded!

May 17, 2018

Carnes, Mark Silver_nugget
[BC2001] Reacting to the Past, [HIST BC2001] Reacting to the Past, Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar, and Reacting to the Past

Took Reacting to the Past with him- LOVED IT SO MUCH. This class was literally the highlight of my freshman year and I have never been in a class like it before. Our roles really take over our lives and sometimes things get personal but at the end of the day, it's an amazing experience. I'm a STEM major and this was super super fun. It definitely wasn't an easy workload compared to other Reacting classes- it actually seemed to be much more work. But, an A is possible! If you want to learn like you've never learned before, take this class with Carnes. He's fantastic and will change your experience in the classroom forever. However, you will need to speak in front of the class and embody your character well so if you aren't into public speaking or get super scared of talking in front of people, maybe the class isn't for you.

Workload:

Quite a bit of work. Essays and speeches that you can't read off. You also have to read speeches beforehand if you're an indeterminate and depending on your role, you might have a lot more work to do. A lot of planning/ scheming after class.

January 08, 2018

Stokes, Patricia Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

I am so glad I took reacting with Professor Stokes! The first day was super confusing and I thought to myself, "oh no," but within the next week I realized just how amazing the class, and Professor stokes, truly was. She taught us how to think critically about the past and how it relates to the present, and contributes so much through her life experience and passion for everything she does. I feel much more confident in my abilities to write, particularly speeches, argue effectively, and take ownership of my opinions and positions. Highly recommended!

Workload:

Not bad at all! Per game: 1-2 assignments based on the time period and history surrounding the game, 1-2 speeches (each about 2 pages), and 1 op-ed article.

December 23, 2017

Stokes, Patricia Silver_nugget
[BC2001] Reacting to the Past and Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

At first I also thought this course with Professor Stokes was HIGHLY overrated, but (thankfully) I wasn't allowed to drop this class so I was forced to stick it out. For the first 2 weeks or so it is very difficult to follow what's going on in class because it's not explained. However you'll soon realize that your classmates feel the exact same way - no one knows what's going on or what's expected of her - but you will eventually figure it out together.

I highly recommend taking Reacting To The Past for First-Year Seminar. And of all the Reacting classes, this one is definitely the most chill and enjoyable. You will learn a lot about history and improve your public speaking and writing. And as Professor Stokes will tell you, this is her second career so she truly likes what she does or else she would not do it.

Professor Stokes expects effort, attendance, and respect - all reasonable. She genuinely cares for her students to do well and is a very generous grader. One time we were stressed about an assignment because we all had midterms and Professor Stokes said we can just start a rough draft and not worry about it until the following week.

Towards the second and third games, the group has bonded and the game sessions become fun. Definitely recommend!!

Workload:

Speech or other writing assignment due every class or every other class. Graded leniently, based on demonstrated effort.

December 21, 2017

Milnor, Kristina Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

Milnor is a really nice person and a great lecturer! I had her for Reacting to the Past. The nature of the class doesn't really call for much professor involvement, as the class is student-run. Sometimes that was frustrating because she would grade me down for something that she never mentioned in class because every class she would just watch us and not say anything. But if you have her, GO TO HER OFFICE HOURS!! She is so great in office hours because she tells you exactly what she expects and then if you do it she will give you an A. Overall she's an incredibly nice person, and this class is SUPER FUN!! I highly recommend.

Workload:

6 papers throughout the semester and participation grades. It might seem like a lot but it isn't because all of them are weighed equally and it really improved my writing skills.

December 12, 2017

Stokes, Patricia Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

Professor Stokes was one of the best professors (let alone teacher) I've had. She was engaging, funny, and so interesting. She really wanted to get to know everyone in the class. Not only was this class one of THE BEST classes, she really helped me with my speech writing and my ability to debate. She put her own twist on the games, which got everyone really into it. Also, she really wants you to do well: she'll meet with you whenever you'd like and you start off the class with an A!

Workload:

3 Opeds, around two speeches per game, and 3 research assignments before each game (short answer questions). Very doable (and writing the speeches were always a lot of fun!)

December 11, 2017

Worth, Jennifer
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

This is a great class and Professor Worth is awesome! Reacting is really cool because you are a part of historical moments and make major political decisions for that time period. The class gets invested and it's a lot of fun, you really get to bond with your classmates.
Prof Worth is fun and really cares about each student's improvement. She takes a backseat throughout the games, but gives helpful feedback and tips for speaking and writing. She also does not care about grades, she just wants her students to put in effort and gain skills. She wants class feedback and is willing to change or make improvements to certain aspects of the class.
Highly recommend reacting, especially with Prof Worth!

Workload:

Very manageable, two 5 page papers per game, and 2-3 games per semester. Two speeches* (based on papers) per game that are also graded. Also 3 super short reflections throughout the semester.
*you do not need any prior skills to be in this class.

December 07, 2017

Milnor, Kristina Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

Professor Milnor is a really sweet person and professor who is very willing to accommodate you if needed. Although she is very hands-off because that is how the games/the course is structured, she will help and guide you if you ask. This class is very much what you make of it and Milnor will support it either way.

Workload:

1/2 Speeches per game. 2 Papers per game. Fair amount of work that is evenly distributed and writing speeches will help with your papers.

December 05, 2017

Carnes, Mark Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

I just took his class this past semester and I truly enjoyed it! This is not to say it's an easy class, it's not an easy class by no means. However your writing and speaking skills will improve vastly, and if you're looking for a class to challenge you and (kind of) take over your life then this is the class for you. However, if you get extremely anxious when speaking in front of people and/or you take attacks very personally, don't take this class. This class is about embodying a character, and if you can't separate your character from you are in real life then you will cry in this class.

Workload:

4 essays, 4 speeches, a LOT of outside of class meeting, extra dedication

April 02, 2017

Stokes, Patricia Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

At first I was nervous for this class because the format is definitely unlike anything I've ever taken before. That said, I am so grateful I took this course, and particularly grateful I took it with Professor Stokes. She brings her life experiences to class in a very valuable way, and facilitated the games and prepared us for them quite well. Reacting to the Past gets a lot of hype, and after taking it I definitely see why.

Workload:

Very reasonable, at the start of each game (there's about 3-4 total) there is associated reading to get familiar with the historical context you are about to embody. During each game depending on your role you could write 1-3 speeches and present them in class in role. She was a very fair grader and if you put the effort in that is necessary, which is not an awful lot of work, you will do great. From what I heard about other sections, particularly Carnes, it was a lot less intense.

December 14, 2016

Stokes, Patricia Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

She was the absolute best Reacting professor! Very easy going class, but she knew how to facilitate discussion.

Workload:

Very modest, a few readings (1-3), an op-ed, and a 1-2 speeches per game

September 05, 2016

Carnes, Mark Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar and [HIST BC3413] The United States 1940-1975

Please please please as a recent graduate I beg you to take a class with this man. He was one of the best parts about my Columbia University education. He tells a story through history, he makes classes tangible and interactive, he will engage you and make you feel like you are part of the past. If you have any love for history at all, Mark Carnes is the professor for you. I had the fortune of taking Reacting to the Past with him my freshman year, a course that has made him famous academically across the world. It is a course that exercises intellectual history, teamwork, public speaking, debate, research and writing all in one-- a game of history, if you will. You embody a character and you become that character for that "game" whether it takes place at the trial of Socrates or the Succession Crisis of the Wan-Li empire. Essentially, you are taught history by becoming history. You are taught to speak and talk through the eyes of others, all while bonding with your classmates. The US 1940-1975 class was a different style of class-- not small seminar but huge lecture. Nevertheless, Carnes riveted us all. The textbook was phenomenal (it made me cry while describing JFK's death and the repercussions that his death had on society) and most of all Carnes was just able to engage the room. I have never been in a lecture where everyone is absolutely engaged. In Carnes's class, people listened to him because he made history not about the past, but about why the past was important for the present and future and how we got to this point in the world. I cannot stress it enough-- take a class with Carnes. If you put in the work and the effort, you'll get an A. Don't take this class if you're looking for an easy class. Take his classes if you're looking for your tuition money to give you an experience that you'll take with you the rest of your life.

Workload:

Usually a midterm and a final exam with a couple essays but they're worthwhile

April 10, 2015

Milnor, Kristina Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

I absolutely loved this class, and Milnor definitely contributed to that. The nature of this class is that the professor doesn't participate in class very much, but she did a great job of introducing the set up of the game and giving us help with our characters and papers.
Honestly, this class turned a little cultish and we loved it. We had such a good time that we scheduled a class dinner at Symposium and Milnor came and somehow used a budget to get it all paid for, which was awesome. We got to talk to Milnor and it was so fun. She told us that our class was the best she ever had, sooo that's pretty cool. We all had such a fantastic and ridiculous time arguing and having crazy things happen. I would absolutely recommend this class to students who love participating and debating, like history, and are willing to take some risks. If you are scared or bad at public speaking or dislike being involved, this class will definitely not be as fun for you. Some kids just never participated and they missed out.

Workload:

About two 4-6 page papers per game (3 games) depending on your character. Seems way worse than it is because the papers are mostly opinion and what you've been arguing in class. One girl wrote a play. Milnor is super helpful with this too. You want to be prepared for class (do the reading) otherwise it will be hard to keep up.

January 17, 2015

Stokes, Patricia Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

Professor Stokes is a GREAT teacher! The class is never boring. Her Reacting to the Past class is not quite as intense as the other sections seemed to be but it was still enjoyable and informative. She gives a few assignments but is a lenient grader. She gives almost everyone an A unless they "lose" that privilege. She is very understanding and wants her students to succeed and learn as much as possible in their college years. Take ANYTHING she offers - she is th best :D

Workload:

a few homework assignments, public speeches, final assignment

November 17, 2014

Milnor, Kristina Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Definitely a class I would recommend to anyone.

Professor Milnor knows what she is doing and engages everyone into the games. If you're struggling or needing help with anything, she is very, very good with office hours. I would suggest going over each paper with her and running your ideas through her then. She is overly generous with the critiques and is very willing to help.

This class was definitely the highlight of my first semester.

Workload:

Each game has two papers (2/3 of game grade) and one participation grade (1/3 of game grade, based on speaking ability and participation). Altogether, 6 papers and 3 participation grades. It wasn't too much work for me.

July 24, 2006

Schonebaum, Andrew Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Andy is such a smart and great professor. He's very interested in what he teaches and obviously loves to share his knowledge. He is very relaxed and understanding. Don't have any reservations about him, he's wonderful. Reacting to the Past itself is a very good class, it's informal and really helps your speech-writing and speaking skills as well as your ability to tear one text apart over the course of a few weeks.

Workload:

speeches and lots of reading, but overall not that bad

April 09, 2002

Crapotta, James Silver_nugget
Reacting to the Past - First Year Seminar

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Not recommended... there's nothing wrong with him, I just know that everyone in other sections had a much more enthusiastic time. He's very good if you get behind, but his personality doesn't make the class worth it. Not inspiring. Do something inspiring, it's good for you. You have the power... choose something else, please. If not, remember that this is my personal opinion and you might enjoy his class.

Workload:

the normal reacting load - a LOT.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section