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Merry Christmakwanzika – Ara Norenzayan in UBC News

Merry Christmakwanzika – Ara Norenzayan in UBC News

At this time of year, many Canadian households are setting up Christmas trees, lighting menorahs, celebrating the birth of Prophet Muhammad, or marking the solstice. And an increasing number of families are observing more than one religious holiday. As UBC psychology professor Ara Norenzayan explains, interfaith families are a part of a diverse society. They […]

Supernatural punishment, in-group biases, and material insecurity: experiments and ethnography from Yasawa, Fiji

Rita Anne McNamara, Ara Norenzayan, and Joseph Henrich “Supernatural punishment, in-group biases, and material insecurity: experiments and ethnography from Yasawa, Fiji.” Religion, Brain & Behavior Vol. 6, Iss. 1, 2016

Which Comes First, Big Cities or Big Gods – Norenzayan in Nautilus

Which Comes First, Big Cities or Big Gods – Norenzayan in Nautilus

Warriors among the Kwara’ae, a collection of tribal communities indigenous to the Solomon Islands, sacrificed pigs before battle. The tradition granted the combatants, so the belief went, aid from heroic ancestral spirits—like the mighty A’orama, a fierce fighter in Kwara’ae folklore. For every man who prepared to shed blood, a hog met its end. [more]

Big Gods, Historical Explanation, and Bringing Religious Studies Out of the Intellectual Ghetto

Slingerland, Edward. “Big Gods, Historical Explanation, and Bringing Religious Studies Out of the Intellectual Ghetto,” Religion (September 2015).

Turning history into a binary code – the DRH in Science

Turning history into a binary code – the DRH in Science

In January of this year, Anders Petersen folded his nearly 2-meter frame into an airplane seat for a flight from Copenhagen to Vancouver, Canada, crossing two continents on his way to check boxes on a computer screen. It would be a new experience for the religious studies scholar from Aarhus University in Denmark, who, like […]

Why big societies need big gods – CERC in Science

Why big societies need big gods – CERC in Science

An ancient Egyptian spent her whole life preparing for the moment when her heart would be weighed. After death, she was escorted before a divine scale. In one pan rested an ostrich feather belonging to Maat, the goddess of social order. The other pan held her heart. The deceased had been buried with a list […]

DRH Personnel Changes

DRH Personnel Changes

June and July have seen some momentum personnel changes at the Database of Religious History, happily all of them tied to very auspicious life events. Dr. Brenton Sullivan, our original Managing Editor for two years, has accepted a tenure track faculty position at Colgate (congrats Brenton!). Brenton played a huge role in defining the basic […]

The Secret of Our Success – Joseph Henrich

The Secret of Our Success – Joseph Henrich

The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter Humans are a puzzling species. On the one hand, we struggle to survive on our own in the wild, often unable to solve basic problems, like obtaining food, building shelters or avoiding predators. On the other hand, […]

Religion in the Text and on the Ground: May 2015 CERC Plenary

Religion in the Text and on the Ground: May 2015 CERC Plenary

The 2015 CERC Plenary: Religion in the Text and on the Ground gathered together an international collection of historians, philosophers, literary scholars, anthropologists, archaeologists, ethnographers, cognitive scientists, and psychologists to engage in targeted and substantive discussions concerning the convergence of historiographic and ethnographic approaches to the study of religion.  As the midterm plenary of the […]

The Role of Religion in Contemporary Society – Ara Norenzayan at Spur

April 11 3:00 pm Famed atheist and essayist Christopher Hitchens wrote, “Religion is part of the human make-up. It’s also part of our cultural and intellectual history. Religion was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health […]