living history activity

Living History Activity Guidelines

In this activity you will choose one of the primary sources we read in class, assume the role of someone from that source, and present that source from your new perspective. Think of this exercise as a primary source analysis in oral form. In this activity, you should think carefully about what this source would have meant to people at the time.

Part I: Choose Your Role

Pick any primary source that we have covered in this class that deals with witchcraft and assume the role of one of the people represented in that source. You can be anyone you like—you can be the author of a tract on witchcraft, you can be a person accused of witchcraft, you can be an inquisitor holding a trial, you can be someone who accuses a witch, etc. Then think about your source from your assumed perspective.

Part II: Forming the Presentation

Develop a short, 3-4-minute presentation explaining one or two insight(s) that you have gained on the source by considering it from your new perspective. In the presentation, be sure to tell me who you are, when and where you are, and what source you are describing (in the first person, of course!). Then tell me your view on that source. The exact content of your presentation will vary based on the role you take and the source you discuss, but here are some suggestions to give you an idea of what I want to see. If you decide to be the author of a tract on witchcraft, why did you write that tract? Who did you want to read it, and what did you want to accomplish? Were you successful in those goals? If you decide to be someone accused of witchcraft, do you also believe that you were a witch? Why do you think that you were accused of witchcraft? What was the experience of the trial like for you? Do you think this document accurately describes your activities and what was happening? Why or why not? If you are an inquisitor holding a trial, why do you care so much about witches? Why do you believe that the person/people you are trying are witches? And so on. You do not need to answer these questions specifically; you can pursue any question that occurs to you. REMEMBER ALSO THAT YOU DO NOT NEED TO ANSWER ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS. Focusing on just one or two points is best, as it will allow you to thoroughly explain those points. For example, you could do the entirety of your presentation on why you think you were accused of witchcraft.

Your presentation must be grounded in the source material. When explaining your perspective, you must reference at least two events/people/examples/quotes from the source. You are welcome to reference other sources, as well, but you must have at least two direct references to evidence from the source you are discussing that support your view.

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