Gurus and Governors

Gurus and Governors


Academic Team:
Rick Colby (
First-Year Experience Seminar Instructor
Nora Vanasse (
FIG Assistant

9 credits
UGST 109 First-Year Experience Seminar - 1 credit
BEAN 1201: T 8 - 8:50 PM
CRN: 15034
REL 101 World Religions: Asian Traditions - 4 credits
TYKE 32: MWRF 11: 11:50 AM 
CRN: 14604
HIST 211 Reacting to the Past - 4 credits
BEAN 1201: TR 6 - 7:50 PM
CRN: 16131
About the FIG:

This FIG combines the study of key texts from Asian religious traditions together with the engaging “Reacting to the Past” role-playing learning that focuses on concrete historical, political, and social contexts. Ever thought about how you might draw on Confucian or Daoist principles to encourage rulers – played by your fellow classmates – to act (or not) in response to outside aggression during the Warring States period in China? Or how rival siblings in the Qurultai council will respond to visiting religious dignitaries and simultaneously compete with one another in leading the Mongol armies to glorious victory? Or how you, playing the part of perhaps Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah or another major leader might help to set India on the road to peace and prosperity at the key moment when the British are discussing withdrawing from South Asia near the end of World War II? Come play through these types of situations, actively participating in the making of history, and having a great deal of fun while you learn!

For more information on how the Reacting to the Past class works, see the video below.

"I was surprised how easy it was to become invested in the role I played and the history I was learning about. I've never had a class more full of passion, laughter, and creativity - it’s unlike any other classroom experience I'll have, and I don’t think there’s a better way to truly learn about history.”

- UO Student Avery Miller on her experience within her Reacting to the Past course.

REL 101 World Religions: Asian Traditions - CoreEd or major satisfying course

This course examines key concepts and practices from such Asian religions as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. Since there is not time to provide a comprehensive survey of all religions in Asia, this course provides a balance of some broad coverage with in-depth examination of primary scriptures, scholarly analysis, and contemporary issues. The focus of our examination will be on the philosophical understanding of religious ideas supported by a critical examination of historical context. We will study key ideas within the critical context of various cultural and historical issues such as gender, class, and ritual practices. As part of this study, we will also explore the contemporary relevance of historically derived ideas and practices.

HIST 211 Reacting to the Past - CoreEd or major satisfying course

Reacting to the Past (RTTP) is an award-winning series of immersive role-playing games that actively engage students in their own learning. Students assume the roles of historical characters and practice critical thinking, primary source analysis, and argument. Students in this course will play three RTTP games over the ten-week term. The first focuses around the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, 1893, that took place during the “Columbian Exposition” World Fair of that year. The second focuses on controversies surrounding the institution of sati (ritual widow suicide through burning herself on her husband’s funeral pyre) around the year 1829 in Calcutta, India. The third focuses on the lead-up to the withdrawal of the British from South Asia as World War II draws to a close.