A revolutionary new Reacting to the Past course has students reenacting history on the bottom floor of Altschul Hall. New Bwogger Judy Goldstein reports.
Tired, melancholy faces. Lines stretching out the door. Dim lighting. Women waiting anxiously for news from overseas. “No news from the front today,” says the man behind the counter. The “when will my husband return from the war” aura is reminiscent of a 1940s era America. But this is exactly what Professor Barbara Fantellini wants you to think.
“By having students wait in these long lines, with no signs of salvation, they can truly understand what it feels like to live during the most painful eras of American history,” says Fantellini.
Her students, however, give mixed reviews on the success of the methodology. One student, Gertrude Lobsmobble, told a Bwog reporter that she “feels exactly like Kit Kittredge, the American Girl Doll, you know the one.” But another student, who wishes to remain anonymous, was nearly in tears as she stood at the back of the four hundred person line. “I just need my textbooks,” she sniffled, tears dripping down her face. “Please. I need my textbooks. Amazon said they were delivered three months ago.”
Fantellini smiles knowingly as she gazes upon the winding lines of students clutching their mailroom slips. The sickly fluorescent lighting elongates her face, as she leaves the Bwog reporting squad with one last quote. “LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) is the only way students should be learning history. I want students to perform Civil War era emergency combat surgery. I want students to slather up with oil and wrestle naked as the Greeks did. I want a play-by-play recreation of the Yalta Conference in real-time. Push yourself to your limits. Live history. Breathe history. Be history.”
“Mailroom on Film” via Judy Goldstein