May 09-14, 2018
Erice, Sicily, ITALY

Workshop Organizers

Conference goals

Purpose of the Workshop

Conference goals

As a deep and enduring aspect of human societies and individual psychology, religion remains an evolutionary puzzle. Considering its centrality in so many lives, however, the scientific study of religion remains a largely neglected and fragmented topic. In this workshop, an international and interdisciplinary group of eminent scholars explore the current state of our knowledge concerning religion as a complex bundle of behavior-belief packages rooted in genetic and cultural evolution. The focus will be on fresh developments and current controversies about the evolution of commitments to gods, rituals, sacred values, as well as religious cooperation and conflict in the world today.  The format will encourage brief talks followed by extensive discussion and debate. Speakers are asked to reflect on emerging themes across disciplinary boundaries, and formulate the new and important questions that will shape future developments of this growing field over the next decade

Speakers & Topics

Scott Atran

Institut Jean Nicod, Paris & Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflicts, Oxford University

Jeanet Sinding Bentzen

Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Paul Bloom

Department of Psychology, Yale University

Pascal Boyer

Departments of Anthropology and Psychology, Washington University at St Louis (USA)

Joseph Bulbulia

School of Humanities, Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland

Russell Gray

Max Plank Institute for the Science of Human History (Germany)

Joseph Henrich

Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University (USA)

Dominic Johnson

Department of Political Science, Oxford University (UK)

Cristine Legare

Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin (USA)

Hillary Lenfesty

School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Institute of Human Origins, Arizona State University, Phoenix (USA)

Robert McCauley

Emory University, Atlanta (USA)

Ara Norenzayan

Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver (Canada)

Eleanor Power

Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe (USA)

Colleen Shantz

Faculty of Theology, University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto (Canada)

Edward Slingerland

Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver (Canada)

Richard Sosis

Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut (USA)

Jesper Sørensen

Department of the Study of Religion, University of Aarhus, Denmark

Ann Taves

Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara (USA)

Harvey Whitehouse

Department of Anthropology, Oxford University (UK)

Aiyana Willard

School of Anthropology and Museum of Ethnography, University of Oxford, UK

David S. Wilson

Binghamton University & the Evolution Institute (USA)

Dimitris Xygalatas

Dept of Anthropology, University of Connecticut (USA)