book launch / exhibition

Why Cultures Persist - Toward a Cultural Immunology

Book by Jesper Sørensen, AIAS Associate Fellow and
the Department of the Study of Religion, Aarhus University

Book Launch Reception
Why Cultures Persist - Toward a Cultural Immunology
Friday, January 19, 2024, 3 - 6 pm
AIAS, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B
8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
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My artwork will be presented during the book launch and several of my artworks are the illustrations in this book.

About the book
Why do humans form groups? Why would a brain, preoccupied with predicting the world, make the formation of cultures possible? And how does our socio-historical context shape the way we think?

In a world faced with numerous global challenges and burdened by conflicts defined along cultural boundaries, now more than ever we need a comprehensive theory of the role of culture in human cooperation. Cultures persist: not only because they enable coordination and cooperation between otherwise selfinterested individuals, but because they cultivate our minds to make us grasp and sense the world in a particular manner, creating enduring structures of mutual solidarity based on a shared experience of reality.

But cultures are not static: they evolve. As we endeavor to predict and classify the spheres of interaction in which we participate, culture falls into place and can be seen to function much like an immune system. If we are to understand the resilience of cultural groups and the evolution of the human mind, we need only look inside ourselves, to our predictive brain and to the immune system regulating the interaction across borders of both cells and cultures. Alongside our natural immune system, humans are endowed with cultural immune systems that bestow individuals and groups alike with resilience and adaptability.

This book is a call for the formation of a genuine cultural immunology.

The book is available to read here (OPEN ACCESS).

It will be possible to buy the book at the reception.

About the author of the book
Jesper Sørensen is Associate Professor of Comparative Religion and co-founder of the Religion, Culture and Cognition research group at Aarhus University. He has published widely on magic, divination, ritual, cognitive historiography, and theory of culture and religion. From 2022 – 2024 he is an AIAS Associate Fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS).

Artwork of the book
Sonja Bäumel is the artist of the artwork illustrated in the book. She is an Austrian artist, independent researcher and art educator based in Amsterdam, Netherlands and Vienna, Austria.

She will display one of her works at the book launch reception.

The book launch reception is open to all and free of charge. Please REGISTER to participate by 16 January 2024.

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