Javascript is currently disabled in your browser.
Please adjust this setting and refresh this page to continue using this system.

User login

Some content is restricted to university students and faculty. You may log in using your campus username to show the additional content.


Primate Religion & Human Consciousness

UH 300 Section 016

Spring 2015, Seminar

Dr. Christopher Lynn


UA Course Catalog Prerequisites

No prerequisites or none listed.

Course Description

UA Course Catalog Information


Core Designations:
University Honors

Human consciousness is often held aloft as one of the distinguishing characteristics of humanity with higher consciousness, self-awareness, and truth generally considered worthwhile lifelong pursuits.  But at what cost?  Have evolutionary mechanisms propelled humans toward “analysis paralysis”?  Do cultural and psychological adaptations maintain the blinders of blissful ignorance?  We will consider these questions in reading about the 'religious' behavior of non-human primates and altered states of consciousness, and engage in activities to expand and limit our own consciousnesses.  Additionally, you will participate in original research as part of the Religious Ecology Study, which will involve establishing relationships and collecting data among a local group of your choice.  The course will consist of a series of readings, discussions, and activities to explore human consciousness from psychological, biological, and cultural aspects with a focus on operationalizing it for a practical research agenda.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to

  • Define a complex system like human consciousness in operationalizable terms—that is, define it by the parts that comprise it and how to test for them
  • Provide examples for elaborated culture (such as religious behavior) in non-humans and humans and examples of behavior that does not require consciousness in human behavior.
  • Summarize technical material and communicate it experientially or in lay terms to a group of peers.
  • Collaborate with a group to design and conduct a pilot study, write up the results as a scientific paper, and give a presentation to an educated audience.
  • Recognize the synergistic outcomes of mind/body processes in behavior and culture.

Required Texts

UA Supply Store Textbook Information


Other Course Materials


Readings will be posted to Blackboard, and I will use this avenue to contact the class about syllabus changes.  The syllabus is likely to be altered slightly over the course of the semester.  I will not reprint it, but you can download and print the most current version from the link on Blackboard at any time.  I will contact you when it has been substantively revised.  Access Blackboard via myBama.  There is a box called Blackboard on the Academics tab that should list your courses that are currently let up with Blackboard.


This course has a Facebook group for sharing information relative to the course.  Please join us for online discussions at

Extra Credit Opportunities

I will offer extra credit for attending ALLELE lectures.  Details will be announced thru the course of the semester.

Undergraduate Research

The Anthropology Department offers several avenues for getting involved in undergraduate research. We offer a course in Undergraduate Research that you can take in conjunction with mentoring by a department faculty member. There is a portal on the department website that will help us guide you to appropriate mentor and project: Additionally, I take new students into the Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group (HBERG) every semester who are interested in getting involved in the kind of research I conduct and which is related to this course. Under some circumstances, I may offer extra credit for such participation, but you can also get involved without receiving credit, if you simply desire research experience. You can learn more about HBERG activities here: To apply to work with me, fill out the form at this portal:

Severe Weather Guidelines

The guiding principle at The University of Alabama is to promote the personal safety of our students, faculty and staff during severe weather events. It is impossible to develop policies which anticipate every weather-related emergency. These guidelines are intended to provide additional assistance for responding to severe weather on campus.

UA is a residential campus with many students living on or near campus. In general classes will remain in session until the National Weather Service issues safety warnings for the city of Tuscaloosa. Clearly, some students and faculty commute from adjacent counties. These counties may experience weather related problems not encountered in Tuscaloosa. Individuals should follow the advice of the National Weather Service for that area taking the necessary precautions to ensure personal safety. Whenever the National Weather Service and the Emergency Management Agency issue a warning, people in the path of the storm (tornado or severe thunderstorm) should take immediate life saving actions.

When West Alabama is under a severe weather advisory, conditions can change rapidly. It is imperative to get to where you can receive information from the National Weather Service and to follow the instructions provided. Personal safety should dictate the actions that faculty, staff and students take.

The Office of University Relations will disseminate the latest information regarding conditions on campus in the following ways:

  • Weather advisory posted on the UA homepage
  • Weather advisory sent out through UA Alerts to faculty, staff and students
  • Weather advisory broadcast over WVUA at 90.7 FM
  • Weather advisory broadcast over Alabama Public Radio (WUAL) at 91.5 FM
  • Weather advisory broadcast over WVUA-TV/WUOA-TV, and on the website at WVUA-TV Home Team Weather provides a free service you can subscribe to which allows you to receive weather warnings for Tuscaloosa via e-mail or cell phone. Check for more details and to sign up for weather alerts.

In the case of a tornado warning (tornado has been sighted or detected by radar; sirens activated), all university activities are automatically suspended, including all classes and laboratories. If you are in a building, please move immediately to the lowest level and toward the center of the building away from windows (interior classrooms, offices, or corridors) and remain there until the tornado warning has expired. Classes in session when the tornado warning is issued can resume immediately after the warning has expired at the discretion of the instructor. Classes that have not yet begun will resume 30 minutes after the tornado warning has expired provided at least half of the class period remains.

Disability Statement

If you are registered with the Office of Disability Services, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible to discuss any course accommodations that may be necessary.

If you have a disability, but have not contacted the Office of Disability Services, please call (205) 348-4285 (Voice) or (205) 348-3081 (TTY) or visit 133-B Martha Parham Hall East to register for services. Students who may need course adaptations because of a disability are welcome to make an appointment to see me during office hours. Students with disabilities must be registered with the Office of Disability Services, 133-B Martha Parham Hall East, before receiving academic adjustments.

Policy on Academic Misconduct

All students in attendance at The University of Alabama are expected to be honorable and to observe standards of conduct appropriate to a community of scholars. The University of Alabama expects from its students a higher standard of conduct than the minimum required to avoid discipline. At the beginning of each semester and on examinations and projects, the professor, department, or division may require that each student sign the following Academic Honor Pledge: “I promise or affirm that I will not at any time be involved with cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, or misrepresentation while enrolled as a student at The University of Alabama. I have read the Academic Honor Code, which explains disciplinary procedure resulting from the aforementioned. I understand that violation of this code will result in penalties as severe as indefinite suspension from the University.”

See the Code of Student Conduct for more information.

UAct: Ethical Community Statement

The University of Alabama is committed to an ethical, inclusive community defined by respect and civility. The UAct website ( provides extensive information on how to report or obtain assistance with a variety of issues, including issues related to dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, sexual violence or other Title IX violations, illegal discrimination, harassment, child abuse or neglect, hazing, threat assessment, retaliation, and ethical violations or fraud.