“I Can’t Revolt Like You” and “I’m Not Helpless”

Sloane Vasko singing Syndey Shaw’s “I Can’t Revolt Like You,” to the tune of “I Am A Girl Like You” from Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper
Sloane Vasko, “I’m Not Helpless”

Last week, I gave students in my U.S. History survey course the opportunity to submit creative un-papers for their weekly discussion prompt. The topic of the week’s module was the Early American Republic. Two students wrote original songs.

Sydney Shaw wrote an anti-Jacobin ditty to the tune of “I am a Girl Like You” from the movie Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper (yes, that is an actual movie), and Sloane Vasko wrote an original composition titled “I’m not Helpless” about the decision that Sally Hemings faced in returning from Paris to the United States. Sloane offered to record both tunes so I could share them online. The first song made me laugh, the second made me cry. What more could a professor ask?

Author: Rachel Hope Cleves

Professor of history at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. Author of Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America (2014), and The Reign of Terror in America (2009). My new book about the notorious writer, Norman Douglas, will be out in October 2020. Now working on a project titled "Good Food, Bad Sex."

2 thoughts

  1. To inspire such creative response to the subject matter – can only be achieved by a great teacher. Bravo to you and your students, Rachel!

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