RLBcB523 Evolutionary Approaches to the Study of Religion

Faculty of Arts
Autumn 2019
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 4 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
Mgr. et Mgr. Radek Kundt, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
Mgr. et Mgr. Radek Kundt, 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
Wed 18:00–19:40 J507
Prerequisites (in Czech)
( RLA01 Introduction to Religion || RLKA01 Introduction to Religion || RLBcA001 Introduction to Religion || RLBcKA001 Introduction to Religion ) && ( RLA13 Introduction to Research || RLKA13 Introduction to Research || RLBcA013 Introduction to Research || RLBcKA013 Introduction to Research ) && ! RLB523 Evolutionary Study of Religion
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
The capacity limit for the course is 50 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/50, only registered: 0/50, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/50
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
The course introduces bachelor students to the evolutionary approaches to the study of human behaviour, placing emphasis on religious behaviour. Following the short history of these approaches, it focuses primarily on the three most prominent types of this study, namely (a) human behavioural ecology, (b) evolutionary psychology, and (c) gene-culture coevolution.
Learning outcomes
Graduates will be able to:
- critically, constructively and impartially evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of applying these evolutionary behavioural sciences to explaining religious behaviour;
- distinguish and reconstruct contributions of the major studies of each approach.
  • - Course introduction
  • - Introduction to evolutionary study of human behaviour
  • - Short history of evolution and human behaviour
  • - Sociobiology
  • - Reading week
  • - Human behavioural ecology
  • - Behavioural ecology of religion
  • - Reading week
  • - Evolutionary psychology
  • - Evolutionary psychology of religion
  • - Reading week
  • - Gene-culture coevolution
  • - Gene-culture coevolution of religious prosociality and religion
    required literature
  • SHAVER, John Hayward and Richard SOSIS. How Does Male Ritual Behavior Vary Across the Lifespan? An Examination of Fijian Kava Ceremonies. Human Nature, New York: Springer, 2014, vol. 25, No 1, p. 136-160. ISSN 1045-6767. doi:10.1007/s12110-014-9191-6. info
  • LALAND, Kevin N. and Gillian R. BROWN. Sense and nonsense : evolutionary perspectives on human behaviour. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. ix, 270. ISBN 9780199586967. info
  • BARRETT, Louise, R. I. M. DUNBAR and John LYCETT. Evoluční psychologie člověka. Vyd. 1. Praha: Portál, 2007. 551 s. ISBN 9788071789697. info
  • WRANGHAM, Richard W. and Dale PETERSON. Demonic males : apes and the origins of human violence. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. 350 s. ISBN 0395690013. info
Teaching methods
lectures, class discussion, readings
Assessment methods
Completion of the course requires:
(1) successful completion of test I.;
(2) successful completion of test II.;
(3) acceptance of the seminar paper.

Trial tests will be held on the announced dates during the semester (students are not evaluated in case of failure in trial tests). Regular tests will be held during the exam period (100 points each, the minimum of 60 points is required to pass the test.

After carefuly going through all the readings, students will choose the minimum of four texts to compare two evolutionary approaches to the study of religion. The comparison will highlight:
(a) the main connecting and dividing starting points of the approaches;
(b) the main connecting and dividing points of the goals of the approaches;
(c) the main connecting and dividing points of the methods.
Length of paper: 5-6 standard pages.

Part of the continuous home preparation throughout the semester is the studying of the given texts. Their detailed reading is obligatory and their knowledge necessary for successful completion of both the tests and the seminar paper. The assesment criterion is the scholarly as well as formal quality of the seminar paper (100 percent).
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
The course is taught once in two years.
Information on course enrolment limitations: Zápis mimo religionistiku je podmíněn souhlasem vyučujícího.

  • Enrolment Statistics (recent)
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