The project envisages a synchronic study of divination and related practices in Senegal and the Gambia, based on participatory field research in rural Southern Senegal, the Gambia, and the urban agglomerations of Dakar and Serekunda, with a focus on the documentation and analysis of divinatory consultations, their epistemology, procedure, content, and the way they are experienced. Taking a phenomenological and hermeneutic approach to ritual praxis, the project will develop a subject-oriented understanding of divination and its sociocultural significance in the contemporary Senegalese and Gambian life-world. Drawing on the analysis of key dimensions such as intentionality, dialogue, and time, the project aims, furthermore, at comparative work regarding formally comparable practices in Africa and Asia, moving towards an integrative understanding of divination’s diversity across different locales.
Preparing Sadaa © Knut Graw
Preparing nasoo© Knut Graw
Demonstrating the use of a divining mat © Knut Graw
Demonstrating cowrie divination © Knut Graw