FF:RLA67 Theories in Religion II - Course Information

RLA67 Current Theories in the Study of Religions II

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2017
Extent and Intensity
1/1. 5 credit(s) (plus 1 credit for an exam). Recommended Type of Completion: zk (examination). Other types of completion: k (colloquium).
Mgr. Aleš Chalupa, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Mgr. Tomáš Hampejs (lecturer)
Mgr. Vojtěch Kaše (lecturer)
Mgr. et Mgr. Radek Kundt, Ph.D. (lecturer)
doc. PhDr. David Zbíral, Ph.D. (lecturer)
doc. PhDr. David Zbíral, Ph.D.
Department for the Study of Religions - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Mgr. Šárka Londa Vondráčková
Supplier department: Department for the Study of Religions - Faculty of Arts
Wed 15:50–17:25 G32
The course follows Contemporary Religious Theories I (RLA66) and is primarily intended for students of the MA Study of Religions. Due to the fact that the wider discussion of contemporary theories of religion takes place prevalently in English, the knowledge of English is a necessary prerequisite for successful completion of the course.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 30 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 3/30, only registered: 0/30
Fields of study the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
The course offers introduction to some of the current theories within the Study of Religions that substantially contribute to the theoretical and methodological improvement of the Study of Religions, theories that drew attention to the new, until recently very often completely neglected, aspects of the Study of Religions. Individual lectures and seminars cover wide range of topics currently discussed in the Study of Religions, from reasoning about the general theory of the Study of Religions up to new cognitive and evolutionary approaches or formal modelling in the study of religion.
Learning outcomes
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate an understanding of selected theories in the contemporary study of religions;
- analyse selected theories in the contemporary study of religions;
- evaluate strong and week points of current theories in the study of religions;
- practically apply some of these current theories to the study of a particular religious phenomenon or religious tradition.
  • - Introduction to the course
  • - Religion and Social Brain (Robin Dunbar)
  • - Culture, Religion and Genetic Evolution (Cochran and Harpending)
  • - The Beginnings of Human Religiosity: "Deep History and the Brain" and "Mind in the Cave" (Daniel L. Smail and David Lewis-Williams)
  • - Transmission of Religious Ideas (Pascal Boyer and Harvey Whitehouse)
  • - Ritualized behaviour and hazard precaution system (Pascal Boyer and Pierre Liénard)
  • - Big Gods (Ara Norenzayan)
  • - CREDs - Credibility Enhancing Displays and religion (Joseph Henrich)
  • - Comptation Modeling in Social Sciences
  • - Cliodynamics (Peter Turchin)
  • - Student presentations of Seminar projects
    required literature
  • LANG, Martin, Jan KRÁTKÝ, John SHAVER, Danijela JEROTIJEVIĆ and Dimitrios XYGALATAS. Effects of Anxiety on Spontaneous Ritualized Behavior. Current Biology, London: Elsevier Science, 2015, vol. 25, No 14, p. 1892-1897. ISSN 0960-9822. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.05.049. URL info
  • NORENZAYAN, Ara. Big gods : how religion transformed cooperation and conflict. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013. xiii, 248. ISBN 9780691151212. info
  • TURCHIN, Peter. War and peace and war : the life cycles of imperial nations. New York: Pi Press, 2006. viii, 405. ISBN 0131499963. info
    recommended literature
  • Contemporary theories of religion : a critical companion. Edited by Michael Stausberg. First published. London: Routledge, 2009. x, 309. ISBN 9780415463461. info
Teaching methods
Lectures, class discussions, and student presentations of the topic of their seminar projects.
Assessment methods
Conditions of completion:
- Active participation in seminar discussions;
- Home preparation (reading of obligatory texts concerning topic of individual lectures and seminars);
- Timely submission of six commentaries on the readings;
- Presentation of the topic of a seminar paper at the seminar in the form of a poster;
- Timely submission of a seminar paper and its defense during an oral exam.
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
Information on completion of the course: Studenti religionistiky povinně ukončují zkouškou.
The course is taught annually.
Information on course enrolment limitations: Zápis mimo religionistiku ja podmíněn souhlasem vyučujících.
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Spring 2017, recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/phil/spring2017/RLA67