Call for Papers: "Assessing Traditional Forms of Predictive Practices in East and West"

The International Consortium for Research in the Humanities "Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe" (ICRH) at the University of Erlangen- Nuremberg (Germany) invites papers that present original research for its workshop "Assessing Traditional Forms of Predictive Practices in East and West." Accepted papers will be presented during the workshop at the ICRH in Erlangen on March 10–11, 2020, and considered for publication in an edited volume on "Theorizing Prediction."
The workshop intends to evaluate various historical and contemporary types of traditional predictive practices. Rather than adopting a purely descriptive approach, we would welcome presentations that discuss such techniques or their individual aspects on a theoretical basis. This may include the ritual as well as non-ritual practices of prediction in a synchronic as well as diachronic perspective.

We particularly invite papers that discuss any of the following topics and questions:

(1) Systems of Knowledge: Production, transformation, transmission (oral and written), and preservation of mantic knowledge. What were the characteristics of the traditional, pre-modern sciences vis-à-vis the present-day forms of prognostication? What role does the epistemological validity of mantic knowledge play?
(2) Social Dimensions of Mantic Practices: Agency, social status of experts and expert knowledge, relationship between experts and their clients, economic aspects, ethics, linguistic aspects of prognostic performance, institutional embedding, gender aspects.
(3) Rituals and Methods: Are there commonalities in terms of the ritual and methodological aspects of the mantic arts (e. g., mantic practices and their representations, like symbols, pictures, ritual objects, and colors in mantic rituals, family resemblance)? What distinguishes divination from other forms of social practice? What are the overlaps and demarcations with regard to other non-divinatory rituals?

Target Group

We primarily target researchers who are interested in the critical study of traditional forms of predictive practices in any culture or historical period. While the research program of the ICRH mainly focuses on East Asia and the European Middle Ages, relevant contributions that focus on other regions (e. g., the Meso-American or African traditions) and periods will also be considered favorably. We kindly request potential participants to submit a brief CV and a 200-250 word abstract, including a provisional title for the paper, by June 30, 2019, via email to:

Basic Information

Deadline for abstract submission: June 30, 2019

Date of the Workshop: March 10/11, 2020

Location of the workshop: University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, ICRH, Building D1, Hartmannstraße 14, 91052 Erlangen (Germany) ( )

Conveners: Prof. Dr. Philipp Balsiger, Prof. Dr. Klaus Herbers and Prof. Dr. Michael Lackner

There will be no conference fee. Limited funding is available upon request to cover the travel and accommodation costs of contributors.

Please send a brief CV, the title of the presentation and a 200-250 word abstract to:

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