Portions of this page are still under construction, pending more details from the Game Authors. Reacting Consortium Members can download game materials below.
Confucians struggle for power and rectitude in the final years of the Ming Dynasty
Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor seeks to introduce undergraduate students to the suppleness and power of Confucian thought as applied to issues of governance during the Ming dynasty. The game is set in the Hanlin Academy. 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.
Using the Game
Reacting Consortium members can access all downloadable materials (including expanded and updated materials) below. You will be asked to sign in before downloading. Basic game materials (Gamebook, Role Sheets, Instructor's Guide, and Handouts) are available to any instructor through the publisher.
Role Sheets and Add'l Materials
Students also need a Role Sheet, which contains biographical information, role-specific resources or assignments, and their character's secret victory objectives.
.zip file of .pdf files.
.zip file of .pdf and .docx files.
The Instructor's Manual includes guidance for assigning roles, presenting historical context, assignments, activities and discussion topics, and more.
Fourth Edition. Updated July 2009. .pdf file.
Daniel K. Gardner
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 books include The Four Books: The Basic Teachings of the Later Confucian Tradition and Confucianism: A Very Short Introduction.
Mark C. Carnes is professor of history at Barnard College and creator of Reacting to the Past. He is the author of many books in American history and general editor of the 26-volume American National Biography, published by the ACLS and Oxford University Press.
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