Accounting for Uncertainty: Prediction and Planning in Asia’s History

Michael Lackner (IKGF), Dagmar Schäfer (MPIWG)

July 28, 2016 -
July 29, 2016


IKGF Seminar Room, Building D1
Hartmannstraße. 14,
91052 Erlangen

Tackling ideas of uncertainty and not-knowing has produced a variety of ways of modeling and reasoning material and intellectual cultures in Asian cultures throughout history. This project focuses on the varied methods and rationalities, as well as material tools actors employed when planning and predicting nature, matters of state and their own lives. From weather forecasts to earthquake predictions, from one’s daily tasks to the future course of society and state, material means and visual representations were used with the aim of facilitating the decision process by making the unknown and uncertain easier to grasp.

The project invites comparisons of the rationalities of knowing and not-knowing that informed diverse historical cultures of Asia. What are the similarities and differences between the ways in which actors materialized and visualized what was yet to be known and what one had experienced or accepted as facts? Are factual knowledge and divinatory result irrevocably bound with the processes from which they are produced? How do people legitimize the process of divination and acquisition of factual data? Does standardization impact on validity? What role does the visual play both as an explanatory tool and for the validity of the practice?

The project is a cooperation between The International Consortium for Research in the Humanities "Fate, Freedom, and Prognostication - Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe" (Director: Prof Michael Lackner) at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (Department III, Artefacts, Action, and Knowledge, Director: Prof Dagmar Schäfer).




July 28, 2016

9:00 - 9:10 Reading Group 1 Introduction
David Bello and Kerry Smith
9:10 - 10:10 “Controlling Locusts, First Discourse” (治蝗論一)
David Bello (Washington & Lee University/IKGF)
10:10 - 11:10 “Earthquake Countermeasures for the Greater Metropolitan Area” (大都市圏の地 震対策)
Kerry Smith (Brown University/IKGF)
11:10 - 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 - 12:00 Reading Group 2 Introduction
Dagmar Schäfer, Chen Jinhua, Chen Kaijun
12:00 - 13:00 Excerpts from Da Tang Xiyu ji 大唐西域記
Chen Jinhua (University of British Columbia/MPIWG)
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 - 15:00 “Memorial on the Submission of the Accidental Porcelains in Flambé Glaze” (恭進上傳及偶得窯變瓷器摺)
Chen Kaijun (MPIWG)
15:00 - 15:10 Reading Group 3 Introduction
Anna Andreeva and Stéphanie Homola
15:10 - 16:10 "List of Prayers for Royal Childbirths" (Osan Oinori no Mokuroku 御産御祈目録)
Anna Andreeva (Universität Heidelberg/MPIWG)
16:10 - 16:30 Coffee Break
16:30 - 17:30 Excerpts from Bodhidharma’s Treasure of the Palm (達摩一掌金)
Stéphanie Homola (Collège de France, Paris/IKGF)

July 29, 2016

9:00 - 9:10 Reading Group 4 Introduction
Daniel Burton-Rose and Zhao Lu
9:10 - 10:10 Excerpts from Han Dynasty Apocrypha
Zhao Lu (IKGF/FAU)
10:10 - 10:30 Coffee Break
10:30 - 11:30 Excerpts from Chronological Autobiography of Master Sub-Expositor 侍講公年譜
Daniel Burton-Rose (North Carolina State University/MPIWG)
11:30 - 12:00 Ji Yun’s 紀昀 Evaluation of Mantic Arts
Michael Lackner (IKGF/FAU)

International Consortium for Research in the Humanities

"Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe."

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Hartmannstr. 14
91052 Erlangen
Telefon: +49 (0)9131 85 - 64340
Fax: +49 (0)9131 85 - 64360