Fate, Freedom and Creation in Early China

Conference Poster May 20–21, 2011

Convener: Prof. Dr. Martin Kern (Princeton University, IKGF Visiting Fellow)

With this conference, the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg brings together leading international scholars from the fields of early Chinese history, philosophy, religion, archaeology, and literature. Together, they address the consortium's focus on "Fate, Freedom and Prognostication" with a broad, interdisciplinary and comparative look at the formative era of Chinese intellectual and cultural history. Inspired by the Consortium's overall topic, the conference explores ideas and practices of divination and cosmology as well as the relation between notions of fate and the creation of texts, artifacts, and institutions. Taken together, the twelve conference presentations, ranging from the analysis of bronze décor in the late second millennium BC to the discourses of fate in the early centuries of the common era, address seminal questions of freedom, creativity, and destiny that shaped the world of Chinese antiquity and in many ways have remained influential to the present day.

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Friday, May 20, 2011
09:30 a.m. Welcome and Opening Adresses
Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stein-Kecks (Dean of Faculty)
Prof. Dr. Michael Lackner (Director IKGF)
Prof. Dr. Martin Kern (Convener)
10:00 a.m. Divinatory Authority and Author's Divinity in Early China
Prof. Dr. Joachim Gentz
10:45 a.m. Refreshment Break
11:00 a.m. Literary Expression and Fate-Effects in Western Han Yi Divination: Jiaoshi yilin as Example
Prof. Dr. David Schaberg
11:45 p.m. The Philosophy of "Change": On the Notion of "Zhong Shi" (Beginning and Ending) in the Ten Wings
Prof. Dr. Dennis Cheng
12:30 p.m. Lunch Break
2:30 p.m. The Consciousness of the Dead as a Philosophical Problem in Ancient China
Prof. Dr. Paul R. Goldin
3:15 p.m. Human and Non-human Destinies in Zhuangzi and Aristotle
Prof. Dr. Lisa Raphals
4:00 p.m. Refreshment Break
4:15 p.m. Disquisitions on Fate in Early Medieval China
Prof. Dr. Alan K. Chan
5:00 p.m. End
Saturday, May 21, 2011
09:30 a.m. Wine, Women, and the Creation of Ritual in Early China
Prof. Dr. Scott Cook
10:15 a.m. Family Fortunes and Dynastic Change in Early Imperial China: the Example of the Ban Family
Prof. Dr. Griet Vankeerberghen
11:00 a.m. Refreshment Break
11:15 a.m. Fate and Heroism in Early Chinese Poetry
Prof. Dr. Martin Kern
12:00 p.m. Lunch Break
2:00 p.m. On the Appearance of Sages: Dispensational Schemes and Ideas of Contingency in Early China
Prof. Dr. Mark Csikszentmihalyi
2:45 p.m. Authorship and Interpretation: The Hermeneutics of Cosmology in Early Chinese Commentarial Practice
Prof. Dr. Michael J. Puett
3:30 p.m. Refreshment Break
4:15 p.m. Stylistic Developments in Shang and Zhou Bronze Deécor: Inexorable or Deliberate?
Prof. Dr. Lothar von Falkenhausen
4:30 p.m. Closing Discussion
5:30 p.m. End


May 20, 2011, 9:30a.m. – 5:00p.m.: Senatssaal im Schloss (Schlossplatz 4, 91054 Erlangen)
May 21, 2011, 9:30a.m. – 5:30p.m.: Sitzungssaal im Altbau der Universitätsbibliothek (Universitätsstraße 4, 91054 Erlangen)


Flyer (PDF) (512KB)


Read more about the Conference in our Newsletter "fate" 2011|06, pp.3-4.