Are you a history buff? An aspiring artist, writer, or actor? A hardcore Hamil-fan? Then consider signing up for Who Tells Your Story: Interdisciplinary U.S. History.
In Act I of Hamilton, George Washington sings:
Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory.
You have no control:
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.
That last line poses the question: When you study history, who is telling the story? In this course, we will ask that question about key moments and people in early American history. How are these people and moments presented in both fictional and nonfictional accounts? How does the story change based on who is telling and when it’s being told? Hamilton recounts the early days of the republic with a good degree of historical accuracy—but is still told in a way that is unique to the United States of the 21st century.
We will study Hamilton and its musical predecessor, 1776, as well as poetry, visual art, and other accounts of the American Revolution and the early years of the new nation. We will compare these with primary sources and discuss what we can learn about the artist, the artwork, and the country from the way the story is told. We will also have an opportunity to learn more about the people whose stories were not told, such as female revolutionaries and people of color, perspectives often dismissed at the time. By the end of the class you will choose a person or moment from this era and make your own decisions about how to blend facts and fiction to tell your version of the story.
Kim Haynes is a former history and literature teacher, as well as retired actress/singer/director who has worked on several historical productions (although not, alas, Hamilton). She is also a homeschooling mom of a 2e kid and the author/designer of curriculum and educational materials for museums, nonprofit organizations, online schools, and educational publishers