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Call for papers: Palgrave Communications special issue ‘Cultural Evolution’

26 March 2018


Palgrave Communications, the open access journal from Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature), which publishes research across the humanities and social sciences, is currently inviting article proposals and full papers for a research article collection (‘special issue’) on Cultural Evolution. See here for more information.


This collection is being edited by Dr Jamshid Tehrani (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Durham University, UK). This is a rolling article collection and as such submissions will be welcomed at any point up until the end of March 2019. To register interest prospective authors should submit a short article proposal (abstract summary) to the Editorial Office in the first instance.


Cultural evolution describes how socially learned ideas, rules, and skills are transmitted and change over time, giving rise to diverse forms of social organization, belief systems, languages, technologies and artistic traditions. This research article collection will showcase cutting-edge research into cultural evolution, bringing together contributions that reflect the interdisciplinary scope of this rapidly growing field, as well as the diversity of topics and approaches within it.


Quantitative and qualitative research from a range of perspectives and disciplines is welcomed, including: archaeology, anthropology, complex network analysis, economics, history, linguistics, medical humanities, politics, psychology, philosophy, and religious studies.

immunoconcept lab logo

Vacancy: Postdoc position on conception of biological identity

13 March 2018


The University of Bordeaux and the CNRS seek candidates for a two-year postdoctoral position in Philosophy of Biology and/or Philosophy of Medicine and/or Conceptual/theoretical Biology, in the context of Thomas Pradeu’s ERC Starting Grant project, “Immunity, Development and the Microbiota: Understanding the Continuous Construction of Biological Identity” (IDEM, ERC#637647, 2015-2020).


The topic can be anything related to the microbiota, immunology, and/or development, with a strong conceptual, theoretical, and/or philosophical dimension.


More information:
Position advertisement
Immunoconcept Laboratory website
Institute for Philosophy in Biology and Medicine website

journal front cover

Bridging Cultural Gaps: Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Cultural Evolution Theme Issue

12 February 2018


The latest issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B published today, is a theme issue, entitled “Bridging cultural gaps: Interdisciplinary studies in human cultural evolution“. The issue was compiled and edited by Oren Kolodny, Marcus W. Feldman and Nicole Creanza


Introductory comments from the editors:
The papers in this theme issue demonstrate that the study of cultural evolution is broadly relevant across many disciplines and that numerous fields can also shed new light on cultural evolution. Each article integrates the study of cultural evolution with the perspective of one or more other disciplines, bridging gaps between fields in ways that yield new insights.

27 Positions Available: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC3)

14 December 2017


A collaborative research centre (SFB) has recently been funded by the German Research Foundation for the period 2018 to 2021 to produce a conceptual and empirical synthesis of individualisation across behaviour, ecology and evolution. As part of this collaborative research centre, a total of 9 Postdoc positions (E13), 16 PhD positions (E13/65%) and 2 half-time technician positions (E9/50%) are available at Bielefeld University, the University of Münster and the University of Jena from 1st of February 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter across 19 Projects.


Project descriptions and contacts

Theme issue front cover

Process and Pattern in Innovations from Cells to Societies Theme Issue

31 October 2017


The latest issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B is a theme issue, entitled “Process and pattern in innovations from cells to societies“, published online on 23 October 2017. The issue was compiled and edited by Michael Hochberg, Pablo Marquet, Robert Boyd and Andreas Wagner.


Introductory comments from the editors:
Innovations are generally unexpected, often spectacular changes in phenotypes and ecological functions. The contributions to this theme issue are the latest conceptual, theoretical and experimental developments, addressing how ecology, environment, ontogeny and evolution are central to understanding the complexity of the processes underlying innovations.

Interface Focus front cover

Interface Focus Special Issue: New Trends in Evolutionary Biology

7 September 2017


PNAS Special Edition: Extension of Biology Through Culture

26 July 2017


Yesterday, PNAS published a collection of papers on The Extension of Biology through Culture, resulting from a Sackler Colloquium held at the Beckman Center in November. The papers can be viewed free and a news feature provides an overview of the topic.


Many of the talks can be viewed on our films page and the colloquium’s YouTube channel.


Introductory comments from Andy Whiten, co-organizer of the conference:
Biology is the science of life. How our understanding of the nature and evolution of living systems is being enriched and extended through new discoveries about social learning and culture in human and non-human animals is the subject of the collection of articles we introduce here. Recent decades of research have revealed that social learning and the transmission of cultural traditions are widespread amongst animals, shaping adaptive behavior from foraging to predator avoidance and mating behavior, yet this body of work remains to be well integrated into evolutionary biology at large. Progress in such studies is surveyed here in papers on primates, cetaceans, birds and insects. A second series of papers focuses on our own, distinctively hyper-cultural species, reporting progress in understanding its evolutionary and ontogenetic development. Together the studies described in this collection of papers examine how our deeper understanding of culture in both humans and non-human animals extend the scope of evolutionary biology. They delineate ways in which cultural transmission expands our understanding of evolution, echoing features familiar in organic evolution, but also going beyond them in distinctive ways, with different consequences. Organic and cultural evolution interact in forms of gene-culture coevolution that further extend the scope of evolutionary biology.

University of Cambridge logo

Vacancy: Postdoc position in evolution and inclusive inheritance

14 July 2017


Applications are invited for a 2-year post-doctoral position to work with Professor Rufus Johnstone in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, on mathematical and computational modeling of the evolution of inclusive inheritance.

The successful applicant will work on modeling three mechanisms of inclusive inheritance: (i) social transmission (exploring how social learning and teaching changes across the life-cycle), (ii) epigenetic inheritance (investigating how maternal investment and resource transmission impacts on subsequent health and development), and (iii) ecological inheritance (considering how environmental modulation and niche construction generate group differences in behaviour). There is, however, scope for the focus of the modelling to reflect the interests of the candidate.


Closing date for applications: 7 August 2017
Position description and online applications: University recruitment portal
Information enquires: email Rufus Johnstone

University of Exeter logo

Vacancy: Postdoc positions in the cultural evolution and ecology of institutions

9 June 2017


Applications are invited for two 3-year post-doctoral positions to work with Dr Thomas Currie at the Human Biological and Cultural Evolution group, Centre for Ecology & Conservation, Department of Biosciences at the Penryn Campus of the University of Exeter on his ERC-funded project, The Cultural Evolution and Ecology of Institutions.


One position will focus on mathematical models and computer simulation of the evolution of institutions and cooperation in humans, and is suitable for candidates with a background in modelling social evolution, cultural evolution, evolutionary ecology or other related areas. The other position will focus on the creation of datasets and statistical analysis in order to test these models, and may be suitable for those with experience of assembling comparative datasets or other kinds of datasets for testing human social or cultural evolution, and the ability to conduct a variety of statistical analyses. 


Position descriptions and online applications:
1. Modelling
2. Data/Analysis


Closing date for applications: 19 June 2017
Ideal start date: 1 September 2017
Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Tom Currie ahead of applications to discuss the positions.

KLI workshop participants

Cause and Process in Evolution workshop

1 June 2017


On 11-14 May 2017, approximately 35 evolutionary biologists and philosophers of biology met to discuss the nature of causation in evolution in the first of three EES-hosted workshops. The aim of the workshop was to initiate close interaction and exchange between philosophers of science and biologists, both within the research program and outside it, to reflect on the nature of causation in biological evolution. The EES has a different perspective on causation in evolution, and ascribes a greater range of processes evolutionary significance, than traditional perspectives. The workshop set out to scrutinize these claims, with both philosophers (acting as independent arbiters) and non-project members (including non-sympathizers) present to ensure good debate.


Three blog posts from Wim Hordijk, Jan Baedke and Massimo Pigliucci summarize the content of the workshop.


Workshop attendees were live tweeting throughout the talks under the hashtag #CAPIE2017.


The KLI in Klosterneuburg, Austria hosted the event and posted a great photo gallery.

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