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Research profile

The focus of the research programme is on religion and biological and cultural evolution and their interactions. It aims to examine identical elements of religion across time and space, while, simultaneously, paying heed to the perpetual and mutual adaptation of religion and culture.

It consists of five research units with a number of partners within and outside CAS . The five units are: 1) RCC (Religion, Cognition, and Culture); 2) CSR (Centre for the Study of Contemporary Religion); 3) HOR (History of Religion); 4) AIS (Arabic and Islamic Studies); 5) SAR (South-Asian Religion)

Whereas interdisciplinary research is primarily located at the level of the research units, the research at the level of the programme is closely related to the existing milieu for the study of religion. In terms of interests there are overlapping fields between the Unit for Religion, Cognition, and Culture and the History of Religion Unit, since both study cultural evolution. Whereas the one is mainly focused on evolution from a biological, cognitive perspective, the other is concentrating on cultural evolution from a longitudinal perspective and including a variety of different types of religions: Tribal, archaic, historical, and modern.

Similarly, there is an overlap of interests between the Unit for History of Religion and the Units for Contemporary Study of Religion, Arabic and Islamic Culture, and South-Asian Religion in terms of a strong focus on thick description of the religions under scrutiny. Close collaboration is also taking place between these three Units, which all have a strong interest in religion in contemporary culture and society.

Empirically the programme covers a wide variety of religions from both the past and the present. This diversity is kept in strains by a strong focus on Method and Theory, which has always been a particular stronghold of the milieu for the Study of Religion at Aarhus University. Empirically, the research programme and especially the individual units within the programme are collaborating with other research programmes within and outside CAS which share similar interests.

Theoretically and methodologically, the programme is also closely aligned with a number of other disciplines at CAS such as anthropology, interacting minds, history, theology, etc. A particular stronghold of the research programme for the Study of Religion is its large number of closely aligned international colleagues and research units as well as universities.