Research Project


Divination, Time, and the Subject in Senegal and Gambia

Knut Graw

The importance that is attributed to divinatory consultation in Senegal and Gambia is so wide-reaching that hardly a sphere of life is exempt from it. Drawing on detailed descriptions of divinatory consultations and an analysis of the cultural and phenomenological properties of the divinatory encounter, this research project will demonstrate that divination is not just an abstract search for knowledge but also an encompassing cultural technology of hope and prospect, allowing the individual to deal with existential concerns and counter situations of affliction. By highlighting the existential dimensions of divination in Senegal and Gambia, the project contributes to a more subject-oriented understanding of the working of West African divination as well as divination more generally.

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