Union Académique Internationale

Fate, Longevity, and Immortality: Europe – ...

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Fate, Longevity, and Immortality: Europe – Islam – Asia |International Conference.

The aim of this conference is to develop as far as possible a comparative perspective on traditions and practices concerning Fate, Longevity, and Immortality, which together constitute a fundamental subject in the fields of cultural, social, and anthropological studies. This will be done across a vast range of civilizations, regions, and periods that span Asia (China, Tibet, Japan), the Islamic World, and Western Europe (Middle Ages, Renaissance).

In particular, the conference will focus on the following issues: the philosophical and medical background of longevity metaphors; occurrences of extraordinary longevity and limits of life; astrology and prediction of life span; elixirs and immortality; literary and spatial myths of longevity; natural death, its prognostics and predispositions; prediction in contemporary genetics; resurrection or regeneration of the body and immortality; animals and prolongevity.

Scholars coming from various disciplines and research fields – from alchemy to astrology, from history of the body and medicine to hagiography – shall enter an academic dialogue on how theories and practices concerning the prolongation of life have been influenced or restricted at different times by the beliefs of antiquity; by Christianity, Buddhism, Daoism, and Islam; and by the respective cultural traditions. How has longevity been predicted, theorized, and calculated within those civilizations and traditions? Which ways towards immortality or avoidance of death have been elaborated? What was the social diffusion of such theories and practices? What are the commonalities and differences regarding these interactions between traditions and humans seeking to extend their life? Is there a general human need to make death predictable and knowable?

Information, programme and inscription


International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF)
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Hartmannstr. 14 · 91052 Erlangen, Germany