The Study of Chinese Divination as a Field of Research

  • Organised by Michael Lackner and Matthias Schumann

Divination, broadly defined as the various practices and techniques that aim to reveal the hidden significance of events or knowledge related to the future, is an almost ubiquitous phenomenon in Chinese societies past and present. For the last ten years, the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg Fate, Freedom and Prognostication: Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe has explored the numerous Chinese divinatory practices and their changing role in society from an interdisciplinary perspective. From the technical practices based on the Book of Changes to the inspired prognostications of temples mediums, the numerous visiting fellows that conducted research at the Consortium showed the variety of divinatory practices, their differing social assessment and their surprising persistence in light of legal prescriptions and modernist critiques. However, the widespread engagement in divination in Chinese societies—historically shared by both commoners and the literati elites—calls for further explanation and systematic study. The Consortium has therefore in recent years established the study of
divination as a distinct field of research. To that effect, an International Society for the
Critical Study of Divination, an academic journal—The International Journal of Divination and Prognostication—as well as a book series have been established. During an interactive session that begins with a brief introduction of the Consortium and its research, the field of divination studies and the related publication platforms will be discussed with interested scholars.

Event Timeslots (1)

Room B
The International Consortium for Research in the Humanities in Erlangen