28 May 2021
Distinguished Speakers on Contemporary Greater China Series: Prognostication in Chinese Culture

Date: 28 May 2021 (Friday)
Time: 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Language: English
Registration: https://forms.gle/dYbu4qMMLn6A8Bqu5
*This seminar will take place via Zoom

Prognostication in Chinese Culture

Fate is a universal concept that can be found in the East and the West, and in ancient times as well as in the modern, though it has different manifestations in different cultures. It is human desire to find out what will happen in the future and predict courses of action so as to avoid catastrophic consequences. Different methods of prognostication, or divination, have thus been invented in the course of Chinese history. Even today many of the practices are preserved in people’s daily life, such as consulting the Almanac or drawing lots. In this lecture, Professor Lackner will focus on the cultural significance of prognostication in Chinese history and will give examples of how the practices have evolved over time. The lecture seeks to address questions such as whether established Chinese divination methods have any scientific basis, or they are simply superstition, and what is the worldview behind Chinese divination.

Professor Michael LACKNER [Director of the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Numberg, Germany]

Professor Michael Lackner is a renowned German sinologist who has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of Chinese culture in the Western world. He was an honouree of the 10th Tsungming Tu Award hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan in 2016 and the first awardee in the field of humanities. He is currently Director of the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities at the University of Erlangen- Nuremberg, where he has initiated a number of projects including “Fate, Freedom and Prognostication: Strategies of Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe”. An expert on the intellectual history of China and the history of cultural exchanges between China and the West, he has researched a wide range of topics, such as the Jesuit mission in China, the neo- Confucianism of the Song and Ming Dynasties, the use of foreign words in the lateu Qing Dynasty, and prognostication in traditional China. He has published numerous works various languages, including the recent edited volume Fate and Prognostication in the Chinese Literary Imagination (Brill, 2000). Prof. Lackner has also compiled a database of Chinese- English vocabulary and is considered a pioneer in Digital Humanities.

About Centre for Greater China Studies (CGCS)
CGCS aims to provide a platform to enhance interdisciplinary research concerning Greater China region.