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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $27.03
  • December 2013
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93729-9
  • 192 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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Henry VIII and the Reformation of Parliament

Reacting to the Past

Paperback

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$33.78

John Patrick Coby (Author, Smith College)

 

Part of the Reacting to the Past series, Henry VIII and the Reformation Parliament transforms students into lords and commoners and members of the English Parliament during the tumultuous years 1529–36.

Cardinal Wolsey has just been dismissed as Lord Chancellor for failing to obtain an annulment of King Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Thomas More is named as Wolsey’s replacement. More presides over Parliament, which the king hopes will somehow find the means to invalidate his marriage, thus freeing him to marry his new love, Lady Anne Boleyn. Apart from matters of the heart, matters of state also apply, for Henry has no male heir to carry on the Tudor line, and Queen Catherine has passed her child-bearing years.

But will Parliament be content with solving the king’s marital and dynastic problems? For there are some in Parliament who wish to use the royal divorce to disempower the English church, to sever its ties to papal Rome, and to change it doctrinally from Catholicism to Protestantism. Others are against the divorce, against supremacy and independence, and against this heretical creed filtering in from the Continent. More is their leader, for as long as he can survive. Thomas Cromwell leads the king’s party.

The king is ambivalent about the reformation unleashed by his “great matter,” as the divorce campaign is called, and so the conservatives are free to prosecute reformers as heretics, while the reformers are free to prosecute conservatives as traitors. Victory is up for grabs, because the king’s party is in fact a coalition of three dissimilar factions whose members are further divided by personal ambitions and jealousies. At issue is the clash of four contending ideas: medieval Catholicism, Lutheranism, Renaissance humanism, and Machiavellian statecraft.

Reacting to the Past is a series of historical role-playing games that explore important ideas by re-creating the contexts that shaped them. Students are assigned roles, informed by classic texts, set in particular moments of intellectual and social ferment.

An award-winning active-learning pedagogy, Reacting to the Past improves speaking, writing, and leadership skills, promotes engagement with classic texts and history, and builds learning communities. Reacting can be used across the curriculum, from the first-year general education class to “capstone” experiences. A Reacting game can also function as the discussion component of lecture classes, or it can be enlisted for intersession courses, honors programs, and other specialized curricular purposes.

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Endorsements & Reviews

Reacting to the Past is the most absorbing and engaging teaching I have ever done. . . . Students engage each other with a passion I have rarely seen in a classroom.” — Elizabeth Robertson, Drake University

“Combines the student instinct for competitive gaming with the academic values of critical thinking and persuasive speaking.” — Craig Caldwell, Appalachian State University

“It is one of the best ways I know of engaging students in great books and significant moments in history.” — Larry Carver, University of Texas at Austin

Student-led classroom

Reacting to the Past is the perfect solution to a “flipped” classroom experience: students take charge of their own learning by assuming roles in a moment of historical crisis.  

History comes alive

Reacting to the Past games do not have a fixed script and outcome. While students must adhere to the beliefs and worldview of the historical figures they have been assigned to play, they must devise their own means of expressing those ideas persuasively in speeches or other public presentations. For these assignments they draw on the rich selection of primary sources in the student game manual.  

A proven pedagogy

By playing games in the Reacting to the Past series, students develop speaking, writing, critical-thinking, problem-solving, leadership, and teamwork skills. For its innovative approach to teaching and learning, Reacting to the Past has been supported by organizations like the Teagle Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. 

The Reacting Consortium

Reacting to the Past was developed under the auspices of Barnard College, which hosts an annual institute where interested faculty can learn more about the series by playing condensed versions of the games. To learn more about the annual faculty institute and other events near you, go to the Conferences and Events page. 

    Introduction: Historical Fiction
    Background: Political and Intellectual History
    Maps
    The Game
    Schedule of Major Legislation of the Reformation Parliament/Convocation
    Significant Characters of the Period

    Appendix A: Documents and Supplementary Texts
    Appendix B: Bibliography