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Two-Year Postdoc Position: Gods, Games, and the Socioecological Landscape

University of Aarhus - School of Culture and Society

Location: Aarhus - Denmark
Salary: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 16th January 2020
Closes: 12th March 2020

The School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University invites applications for a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the study of religion. The position is full-time, and is available from 1 September 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The university wants its staff to reflect the diversity of society, and thus welcomes applications from all qualified applicants regardless of their personal background.

Research context

This position is funded by an Aarhus University Research Foundation starting grant awarded to the supervisor, Associate Professor Benjamin Purzycki at the Department of the Study of Religion. The fellowship is available as of 1 September 2020 for a period of two years.

The position is located at the Department of the Study of Religion, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 3-7, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.

For further information about the position, please contact Associate Professor Benjamin Grant Purzycki (

For more information about the application process, please contact HR supporter Marianne Birn (

Research and postdoctoral project

In spite of the continued growth in evolutionary approaches to religion, there remains a curious lack of formal theory and models to address local, functional resolutions to social dilemmas in the form of religious beliefs and practices. While the field is saturated with indications that religion resolves local challenges to cooperation, and many are testing hypotheses based on informal theories, only a handful of formal models exist that actually generate testable hypotheses. This position will involve propelling the field towards a better appreciation of formal models and their application, particularly in small-scale societies. Rather than designing experimental economic games, the position will entail the use of evolutionary game-theoretical models to simulate real-world scenarios and to push the boundaries of their utility in ethnographic contexts. To facilitate discussion, applicants should be prepared to discuss aspects of scenarios detailed here throughout the application process:

Qualifications, job requirements and preferences

  • PhD in anthropology, economics, ecology, biology, or any related field that addresses problems in evolutionary game theory
  • Expertise in evolutionary game theory, in particular with preferences for: a) specialisation in mathematical modelling generally, b) specialisation in social learning specifically, and c) experience with agent-based modelling
  • Readiness and willingness to learn from and apply models to real-world scenarios
  • Readiness and willingness to teach models about real-world scenarios
  • Fluent written and spoken English
  • Willingness to contribute to a vibrant, enjoyable and friendly work environment
  • The ability to work collaboratively with supervisors and PhD students.

Please note that only publications that are actually submitted with the application will be assessed: a list of publications is not sufficient. Applications which are not accompanied by publications will not be assessed. Please see further below under the headline 'Formalities'.

Institutional context

The Faculty of Arts at Aarhus University is one of the largest environments for research and education in Northern Europe. We investigate human cultural and social forms of expression and practice.
See the School of Culture and Society at the Faculty of Arts for more information on its research activities.

Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts is one of four main academic areas at Aarhus University.


Learn more at 

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