RLA67 Current Theories in the Study of Religions II

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2021
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. et Mgr. Radek Kundt, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Mgr. Tomáš Glomb, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Mgr. Tomáš Hampejs, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Mgr. Dan Řezníček (lecturer)
Mgr. Jan Horský (lecturer)
Mgr. Radim Chvaja (lecturer)
Mgr. Jana Nenadalová (lecturer)
Mgr. Kateřina Koppová (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. PhDr. David Zbíral, Ph.D.
Department for the Study of Religions - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Mgr. Kateřina Sedlářová
Supplier department: Department for the Study of Religions - Faculty of Arts
The course 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: 0/30, only registered: 0/30
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
The course introduces in 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 research into religion. 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 computational modelling in the study of religion.
Learning outcomes
After competing the course, students will be able to:
  • demonstrate the understanding of selected theories in the contemporary study of religions;
  • analyse selected theories in the contemporary study of religions;
  • evaluate strong and weak 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.
  • Syllabus
    • Introduction to the course
    • Shared reality (Gerald Echterhoff)
    • Costly signaling (Richard Sosis)
    • Religion and Social Brain (Robin Dunbar)
    • Ritualized behaviour and hazard precaution system (Pascal Boyer and Pierre Liénard)
    • Big Gods (Ara Norenzayan)
    • CREDs - Credibility Enhancing Displays and religion (Joseph Henrich)
    • Computational Modeling in the 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 eight 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)
    Information on completion of the course: Studenti religionistiky povinně ukončují zkouškou.
    The course is taught annually.
    The course is taught: every week.
    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 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020.
    • Enrolment Statistics (Spring 2021, recent)
    • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/phil/spring2021/RLA67