Seminar: Another science? The defense of divination during the republican era

7 August 2012

In 1927, the KMT government started a fierce campaign against "superstitious persons and places". To a certain extent, the rhetoric of this campaign anticipated the language of later campaigns that were to take place in the PRC. Together with Chinese medicine and magic, divination and the mantic theories and practices of traditional China became one of the focal points of the attack. While the victorious cause of Chinese enlightenment has been studied extensively, the defenders of divination and their arguments have attracted little attention thus far. The talk shall provide an insight into the concepts of the supporters of traditional practices in the context of the keywords of "religion", "faith", "science", "superstition", and "modernity".

Michael Lackner has studied Sinology, Ethnology, Political Science and Philosophy in Heidelberg, Munich, and Paris. He has taught in Geneva, Göttingen and Erlangen, with stays as visiting professor at Fudan/Shanghai, Taida/Taipei, Kansai University/Osaka, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme and EHESS/Paris. Michael Lackner has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin and the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study. His fields of study encompass Song dynasty philosophical thought and learned practices, the Jesuit mission in China, the history of divination, and the formation of modern Chinese scientific terminology and disciplines. He has published monographs, databases and articles in these specialties.

Time: 5.30-7.00PM

Location: Room 310, Old Teachers College


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