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World-leader in cognitive science of religion to give 2020 De Carle Distinguished Lectures

Thursday 27 February 2020 3:53pm

The 2020 De Carle Distinguished Lectures will feature a world-leader in the evolutionary and cognitive science of religion, Professor Ann Taves from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

During the lecture series, which is hosted by the University of Otago’s Religion programme, Professor Taves will explore the evolutionary and cognitive processes that underpin cross-cultural variation in worldviews.

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Professor Ann Taves

Head of the Religion Programme John Shaver said that Professor Taves’ work is unique in effectively bridging the sciences and the humanities in the study of religion, and that “she is truly a pioneer and leader in the field, someone whose work has been ground-breaking.”

Taves studies “unusual experiences” to better understand how and why, in some cases, these lead to new social movements and, in others, to disability and distress.

Professor Taves has examined these issues in six books and more than 50 journal articles and book chapters. Her books have won numerous awards including the 2000 Association of American Publishers Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Philosophy and Religion, the 2010 Society for Scientific Study of Religion Book Award, and the 2010 Choice award.

In 2010 Professor Taves was named a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Science, in 2013 she was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, and more recently received the William C. Bier Award, Division 36, American Psychological Association, which recognizes outstanding interdisciplinary work on issues of psychology of religion and related fields.

Religion programme Head John Shaver

In addition to her academic work, she has been elected to some of the most prestigious service roles for a scholar of religion, including President of the American Academy of Religion, the world’s largest professional association for the academic study of religion with more than 10,000 members worldwide, President of the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion (IACSR), and Deputy Secretary General of the International Association for the History of Religions.

De Carle Distinguished Lectures 2020

Lecture I: Studying Religions and Other Lived Worldviews' 5:15pm, 4 March, ARCH2

Lecture II: The Evolutionary Foundation of Worldviews' 5:15pm, 5 March, ARCH2

Lecture III: Generating Diverse Worldviews and Ways of Life 5:15pm,11 March, ARCH2

 Lecture IV: The Emergence of New Worldviews and Ways of Life 5:15pm, 12 March, ARCH2


The De Carle Distinguished Lectureship fund of the University of Otago was established by the University Council in 1946 under the will of the late Edith Isobelle de Carle, who directed that a trust fund be established of a lectureship for the promotion and encouragement of learning.