FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2007
College of Arts and Sciences "Religions and Violence Symposium"
From Oct. 11-13, Webster University College of Arts & Sciences scholars will host academics from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Queens University in Belfast, Ireland, and Washington University, at the Webster University downtown Old Post Office campus for the symposium, “Religion and Violence: Evolutionary and Political Perspectives.”
The symposium’s purpose is to facilitate the improvement of research on the causal relationships between religion and violence. While most research and discussion on religiously motivated violence has focused on causes like social political, cultural and environmental factors, the symposium and its presenters will examine causes of religious violence using evolutionary psychology, biology and cognitive psychology. The topics to be covered will include coalitional reasoning, decision-making, mate selection, and hazard-management.
The event’s organizer is Dr. Jason Slone of the Department of Religious Studies with funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Webster University. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Pascal Boyer, the Henry Luce Professor of Individual and Collective Memory at Washington University and author of Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought.
Other participants will include Dr. Monica Toft, professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and author of The Geography of Ethnic Violence: Identity, Interests, and Territory; Dr. Dominic Johnson, member of the Society of Fellows at Princeton University and author of Overconfidence and War: The Havoc and Glory of Positive Illusions; and Dr. Richard Wrangham, professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University and co-author of Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence.
A public reception will follow Dr. Boyer’s talk, which is at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13. For more information or to register for the symposium, visit the religion and violence website at: www.webster.edu/religion-violence/index.html.
Members of the media are encouraged to attend and to contact Christine Wells Eason, director of media relations, Webster University Office of Public Affairs, at: 314-565-5745 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.