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This workshop session will be hosted by the 18th Annual Institute at Barnard College, in which participants learn the Reacting to the Past pedagogy by experiencing an abbreviated version of a simulation set in the Hanlin Academin in Ming Dynasty China. As is true of undergraduates in Reacting classes, participants will serve as members of the Grand Secretariat, key advisers to the Wanli emperor. Some Secretaries are Confucian "purists," who hold that tradition obliges the emperor to name his first-born son as successor; others maintain that it is within the emperor's right to choose his successor; and still others adopt variants on these perspectives. Throughout, scholars scrutinize the teachings of Confucianism for guidance. The simulation unfolds amidst the secrecy and intrigue within the walls of the Forbidden City, as scholar-philosophers struggle to apply Confucian precepts to a dynasty in peril. This session, one of a dozen at the Annual Institute, is based on Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor, 1587 by Daniel K. Gardner.
Professor Mark Carnes, Department of History, Barnard College, Columbia University