Reacting To The Past courses are strategy games set in the past that allow students to play through historical events as real people from history. Class sessions are run entirely by students; instructors advise and guide students. Students’ oral and written work is informed by historical texts.
“Confucianism & the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor, 1587” is a game set in the Hanlin Academy in Ming dynasty China that brings to life the suppleness and power of Confucian thought. Most students are members of the Grand Secretariat, 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.
The class will be taught by UO Assistant Professor Tara Fickle during spring term 2017.