Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars

Evolution, Cognition, and Belief

01:090:293:01 Index# 12057
Professor Lee Cronk, SAS - Anthropology
W 12:35P - 3:35P
Hickman Hall, Rm 132
Douglass/Cook Campus


Course WILL count for major and minor credit in Anthropology

The last two decades have experienced an explosion of research in anthropology, psychology, and related disciplines on the evolutionary and cognitive roots of religious phenomena. My proposal is for a seminar that would dive into this rapidly growing body of scholarly work. As I will make clear to the students, the purpose is to better understand religious phenomena, not to belittle or explain them away.

LEE CRONK, a Professor in Rutgers' Department of Anthropology, is an evolutionary and cultural anthropologist. He received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1989. After receiving his degree, he taught at Texas A&M University for ten years. In 1999, he moved to Rutgers. Dr. Cronk’s approach to the study of human behavior incorporates both evolutionary theory and the concept of culture. He and his students conduct research among living peoples in a wide variety of settings, using innovative theories and methods to examine the role of culture in current behavioral adaptations. He has conducted fieldwork among the Maa-speaking Mukogodo of Kenya on such topics as cultural change, ethnicity, parental care, and cooperation. In addition, he has conducted fieldwork in Honduras on the negotiation of familial roles and among ranchers in the American Southwest on patterns of mutual aid. He has also conducted laboratory studies in the U.S. to explore the impact of social coordination norms on behavior. Dr. Cronk is co-director, with Athena Aktipis of Arizona State University, of the Human Generosity Project, a transdisciplinary effort to better understand the interrelationship between biological and cultural influences on human generosity through fieldwork, laboratory experiments, and computational modeling.