RVI2175 - Explaining religion: Why are people religious?
Lessons are not given in the academic year 2019/2020
Why are people religious? Believe it or not, scholars have some pretty good answers to this question.
This course will give students tools to explain the origins and persistence of religion to the present day. The tools come from the fields of evolutionary and cognitive science of religion.
If religion is anything, it is both a cultural and a biological phenomenon. In this course we will read a few classic texts from this area of research, in addition to texts that exemplify the state of the art of research today. Students will have the option to follow either a theoretical or methodological trajectory in the course. All students will assess and critically evaluate theories that explain the origin and persistence of religion. Students that follow the theory trajectory will try to devise a theory of their own to explain religion. Students that follow the methods trajectory will develop an experiment that tests a theory or an element of a theory. Such knowledge can be extended beyond the field of religion to other phenomena.
According to the course curriculum, a candidate who passes this course is expected to have the following learning outcome (defined as knowledge and skills):
The candidate has attained
- a broad understanding of theories in the evolutionary and cognitive science of religion (CSR)
- a broad understanding of methods in the evolutionary and cognitive science of religion (CSR)
- knowledge of what constitutes scientific explanation
- insight into recent research pertaining to the questions above
The candidate has acquired skills to:
- analyze, compare and criticize theories from CSR
- analyze, compare and criticize methods from CSR
- analyze the construction of the following categories: religion, nature, technology and science
- operationalize state of the art theories from CSR into experimental settings
- apply tools from the mind sciences to cultural and religious studies
- ability to update his/her own knowledge of the disciplines research questions
- do interdisciplinary scientific research
Learning methods and activities
The teaching consists of lectures and seminars. The lectures and seminars aim at outlining broad frameworks for thinking about the issues that are treated in the course readings.
In order to take the exam the students have to attend at least 80 % of the teaching, and pass one obligatory activity of three assessment thresholds, subject to the lecturers evaluation.
The obligatory course requirements can only be approved in the semester when the course is taught, but are valid in this and the subsequent term.
- 80 % oppmøte
Further on evaluation
The exam consists of a written assignment (8000 words).
Exam registration requires that class registration is approved in the same semester. Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.
Recommended previous knowledge
Skills equivalent to one year of university studies, including basic courses in religious studies.
Required previous knowledge
The required reading list will be available at the beginning of the semester.
- * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date.