People at the Department for the Study of Religions

Management

Mgr. et Mgr. Radek Kundt, Ph.D.

Department head, Department for the Study of Religions


Info

My training is in Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Secondary School Teaching of “ZSV”. I studied at Masaryk University and received my Ph.D. in Religious Studies in 2014 for my thesis on evolutionary theories of religion. Currently, I am an assistant professor and head of the Department for the Study of Religions, a researcher at the Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion (LEVYNA), and a member of the research board of the Experimental Humanities Lab (HUME Lab).

I am interested in the evolution of ritual behavior and intra-group cooperation. In my research on the links between religious ideas and religious behavior on the one hand and morality on the other, I combine methods from experimental psychology, behavioral economics, and experimental anthropology. I have several years of research experience in the lab and in the field (mainly behavioral measures of trust, cheating, and prosociality in Mauritius) and I am happy to supervise your bachelor/master thesis on these and related topics and methods.

If you would like to meet, do not hesitate to send me an email.

Mgr. Jana Valtrová, Ph.D.

Department vice-head, Department for the Study of Religions


Info

She studied religious studies and history, and her research focuses on the interaction between the cultures of Europe and Asia, both in the past, especially in the context of Christian missions, and in modern times. Methodologically, she works in the field of historical anthropology and religious studies, finding inspiration in the concept of interconnected history and global history. Since 2023, he has also been collaborating with colleagues in history and anthropology at MU on a project devoted to the history of Moravian Neo-Christianity in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Please contact me if you are interested in doing a thesis based on a historical or comparative approach, i.e. you like to read a lot preferably in several languages, you are interested in interreligious interactions, or you would like to explore the history of the Neo-Baptist community in Moravia.

Consultations: Tuesday 14:00-16:00

doc. PhDr. David Zbíral, Ph.D.

Department vice-head, Department for the Study of Religions


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My work consists in interdisciplinary research into the history of Christianity, especially its non-conformist forms in the Middle Ages. I studied Study of Religions and French Language and Literature at Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, and especially my stays at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris were formative for my current direction at the intersection of the history of religions and social sciences. You can get to know me better through my two books, The Greatest Heresy: Dualism, Scholarly Narratives of Catharism and the Making of Christian Europe (2007) and Baptized by Fire: Cathar Christianity in the Light of the Sources (2019). I currently devote most of my time to leading the ERC grant Networks of Dissent: Computational Modelling of Dissident and Inquisitorial Cultures in Medieval Europe (9/2021-8/2026), where an international and interdisciplinary team of ten researchers is using various forms of computational modelling to better understand medieval heresy and the mechanisms of its repression by the inquisition. I supervise especially theses using digital humanities methods in the field of the history of Christianity.

If you would like to meet, learn more about my projects and thesis writing under my supervision, or borrow books on some of the above-mentioned subjects, please contact me by e-mail.

Sekretariat

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Ivona (MA in English Language and Literature from Masaryk University, 2016) is the manager and admin of the OP JAK CoRe project (Beyond Security: Role of Conflict in Resilience-Building), and the managing assistant of the Department for the Study of Religions and HUME Lab.

Bc. Barbora Jančeová

Lecturers and researchers

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I graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy of Masaryk University in 2005 with a master’s degree in study of religions and Latin Language and Literature. I then continued my studies at the same faculty and graduated in 2008 with a PhD in Scientific Study of Religions. Since the same year I have been working as an assistant professor at the Department for the Study of Religions at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University, where I was also its head in 2011-2022. My professional interest is the historical study of the religions of the ancient Mediterranean, especially the Roman religion and the Roman cult of Mithras. In recent years, I have also been studying the possible impact of certain macro-historical factors, such as climate change or epidemics of infectious diseases, on the changes and development of ancient societies and the history of the ancient world. Methodologically, together with my colleagues at the Center for the Digital Study of Religion (CEDRR), I am exploring the possible benefits of applying network analysis and mathematical or computational models to the study of the dynamics of the spread of ancient religions.

You can contact me for thesis supervision if you are interested in ancient religions in their many facets, from divination to magic, or if you are interested in the possible effects of macro-historical factors on the history of religions and human societies.

Office Hours: I am usually available on Mondays from 10:00-11:30, or email me to arrange a specific time.

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I studied history and archaeology at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University and I am one of the founding members of the Department for the Study of Religions, which has been active at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University since 1993. I have long focused on the comparative study of ancient religions, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East. My research uses a wide range of methods from historical and social science approaches to applications of mathematical modelling of complex processes. I am a member of the Center for the Digital Research of Religion (CEDRR), where my main focus is on transdisciplinary research on the formative phases of early Christianity.

If you are interested in ancient religions, whether in partial aspects, in a broader comparative scope or in terms of quantitative research of complex phenomena, I will be happy to help you on the level of non-binding consultations, lending literature and guiding thesis. Please arrange individual meetings by email.

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Doc. Luboš Bělka, PhDr., CSc., has long been engaged in field research in Buryatia, Mongolia and Tibet, where he has studied the process of religious renewal. In the last ten years he has focused on the processing of archival, photographic and film materials, as well as private travel diaries of Czechoslovak visitors to Mongolia, the People's Republic of China and Tibet. His research has resulted in numerous presentations at international conferences (since 1984), as well as numerous articles in international journals, conference proceedings and monographs, as well as several books and scripts in Czech and one monograph in English. In 2004-2005 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Vermont, Burlington, USA. He is currently co-investigator of the GACR grant (2023-2025) Representation and Role of Tibetan Buddhism in Narratives of Tibet from 1950 to the Present.

Consultation hours by appointment by email.

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I studied Religious Studies at Masaryk University and I got my PhD there. I am currently working as an assistant professor and researcher at the Laboratory for Experimental Research on Religion (LEVYNA). My main research interests are religious conversion and the affiliation process in the context of contemporary religiosity and spirituality. I investigate the social and psychological dynamics of becoming part of religious groups, focusing on autobiographical memory and remembering as part of communicating authentic change and signalling membership. My research focuses on anthropological fieldwork and experimentation in controlled settings and in the field, and on the possibilities of mixed interdisciplinary research on religion.

Please contact me if you are interested not only in the topic of religious conversion and the process of affiliation, but also in the area of contemporary traditional and new religiosity and spirituality, and the ritual aspects of religious attachment and devotion in behavior and verbal expression.

Consultation hours: Mondays 1:00pm - 2:00pm and by appointment by email.

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Dr. Phil. Anna Kvíčalová, MA is a historian of religion and science; in her work, she deals with the history of sound and hearing. She received an MA from the University of Amsterdam and a PhD from Freie Universität Berlin. Between 2013 and 2017, she was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Apart from MUNI, she is a research fellow at the Centre for Theoretical Study (Charles University and the Czech Academy of Sciences), where she investigates historical relationships between the sciences and humanities in the 19th and 20th centuries. She is the author of Listening and Knowledge in Reformation Europe (Palgrave, 2019) and other publications on sound, hearing, and acoustics. Her research focuses on early modern and modern European history.

Please contact her if you are interested in historical approaches in religious studies, the history and anthropology of the senses, the relationship between religion and media technologies, as well as religion and science.

Consultation hours by appointment by email.

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He studied religious studies and philosophy at Masaryk University where he obtained Ph.D. for a thesis published under the title Akulturace hinduismu a formování moderní religiozity: K sociálním dějinám českého okultismu, 1891-1941 [Acculturation of Hinduism and Forming of Modern Religiosity: Social History of the Czech Occultism, 1891-1941] (Malvern, Praha 2010). As a doctoral student, he spent a year as an ICCR research fellow at the Department of Philosophy of Pune University, Maharashtra, India.

He teaches mostly methodological courses focusing on ethnography and qualitative sociological methods. Concerning theory, his courses embody Foucauldian and postcolonial critical approaches, ethnomethodology and ANT, and represent anthropology after textual and ontological turns. He teaches also basic courses on nature-culture history of South Asia and Indian modernisation under colonialism.

He used to study the emergence and constitution of modern religiosity. His later work, however, is a continued search for religious studies without colonizing and mystifying concept of religion, but beyond the narrow confines of critical religion. Practically, he focuses on the handling of uncertainty and the corresponding ontological politics.

Apart from the book Akulturace hinduismu a formování moderní religiozity, he co-authored with Dušan Lužný the book Oddaní Kršny: Hnutí Haré Kršna v pohledu sociálních věd, [Krishna Devotees: Hare Krishna Movement from the perspective of social sciences] (ZČU, Plzeň 2010), designed, co-authored, and co-edited (with Eva Klocová and Radek Kundt) the comprehensive textbook Identity v konfrontaci: Multikulturní výchova pro učitele/učitelky SŠ a ZŠ [Identities in confrontation: Multicultural education for the primary and secondary school teachers] (MUNI Press, Brno 2011) and further textbooks. At present, he is finishing the book with a working title Beyond Religion and Belief: Uncertainty and Religious Studies for the Anthropocene. He published articles in journals like Implicit Religion, Journal of Religion in Europe, Religio, Sociální studia / Social Studies or Biograf.

Mgr. Tomáš Glomb, Ph.D.

Head, Centre for the Digital Research of Religion


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I received my Ph.D. in the Study of Religions at MUNI in 2018 for a dissertation focused on the formal modeling of factors facilitating the spatial dissemination of Hellenistic Egyptian cults across the ancient Mediterranean. In 2020-2022, I worked as a postdoctoral Marie-Sklodowska Curie Fellow at the University of Bergen in Norway on the project “Favorable Conditions of the Spread of the Cult of Asclepius across the Transportation Network of the Roman Mediterranean: A Quantitative Evaluation”. Currently, I am the head of the Centre for the Digital Research of Religion at the Department for the Study of Religions.

In research, I focus mainly on analyzing the complex processes of spatiotemporal transmission of ancient religions by quantitative approaches such as network and spatial analysis in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Initially, my research revolved around the topic of Hellenistic political powers and their impact on Egyptian religious traditions outside Egypt. However, currently, the Roman Empire and its cultural dynamics are my main area of interest.

If you would like to meet, consult these or similar topics, please do contact me on my e-mail.

Mgr. et Mgr. Eva Kundtová Klocová, Ph.D.

Head, HUME Lab - Experimental Humanities Laboratory


Info

I received PhD in Religious Studies at Masaryk University in 2018. In my dissertation, I focused on the topic of the body and embodiment in religious rituals primarily from the perspective of evolutionary theory and embodied cognition theory. During my studies, I started working as a researcher at the Laboratory for Experimental Research on Religion (LEVYNA).

My main research interests include ritual communication and self-signalling, rituals of atonement and reconciliation, the link between physiological changes and changes in behaviour and thinking, and experimental research methodology in the humanities and social sciences. In addition to my own research activities, I am also the head of the research infrastructure HUME Lab (Experimental Humanities Laboratory) at the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, which provides extensive support for the implementation of research projects.

Please contact me if you are interested in working on theses on cross-cultural comparisons of different aspects of religious rituals; rituals of penance and reconciliation; body manipulation and body modification in religious rituals; ritualization in everyday life, or work using material from ethnographic databases (HRAF, SCCS, DPLACE).

Consultation hours by appointment by email.

Mgr. Martin Lang, Ph.D.

Head, Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion


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I obtained my Ph.D. at Masaryk University in 2016 for a dissertation on the effects of ritual behavior on anxiety and social bonding. During my graduate career, I worked at the Anthropology Department at the University of Connecticut with Dimitris Xygalatas, and after obtaining my Ph.D., I worked for two years at the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University with Joseph Henrich. I am currently a director of the Laborator for the Experimental Research of Religion (LEVYNA}.

Currently, I work on the evolutionary underpinnings of ritual commitment signaling; on the cultural evolution of moralistic gods; on the role of music and synchronous movement in human cooperation; and the relationship between ritualized behavior and anxiety. I would be happy to mentor bachelor/master theses on similar topics (e.g., The presence of psychopathological disorders linked to ritualization among world religions; Extreme rites of passages in hunter-gatherer societies; Moral and amoral behavior in the eyes of Czech catholics).

If you’d like to meet with me, drop me an email.



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