Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor, 1587 (Reacting to the Past)

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9780393937275: Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor, 1587 (Reacting to the Past)

Part of the Reacting to the Past series, Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor brings to life the suppleness and power of Confucian thought.

The game is set in the Hanlin Academy in Ming dynasty China. Most students are members of the Grand Secretariat of the Hanlin Academy, the body of top-ranking graduates of the civil service examination who serve as advisers to the Wanli emperor. Some Grand Secretaries are Confucian “purists,” who hold that tradition obliges the emperor to name his first-born son as successor; others, in support of the most senior of the Grand Secretaries, maintain that it is within the emperor’s right to choose his successor; and still others, as they decide this matter among many issues confronting the empire, continue to scrutinize the teachings of Confucianism for guidance. The game unfolds amidst the secrecy and intrigue within the walls of the Forbidden City, as scholars struggle to apply Confucian precepts to a dynasty in peril.

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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About the Author:

Daniel K. Gardner is the Dwight W. Morrow Professor of History at Smith College and the author of many books and articles on the Confucian and Neo-Confucian tradition in China. His most recent books are The Four Books: The Basic Teachings of the Later Confucian Tradition and Confucianism: A Very Short Introduction (forthecoming).

Review:

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

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