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Czech researcher wins prestigious prize

Vojtěch Kaše has won the Jacques Derrida Prize awarded by the French Embassy.

The researcher at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen earned the award for a project exploring early -Christian-era dining rituals, with a focus on the evolutionary origin of human rituals. 

Kaše was a member of two research groups while working on his dissertation, one of which was based at the University of Helsinki. They apply the methods prevailing in contemporary-era religious studies to examine the role of rituals for early -Christian-era social groupings. 

Comprising religion historians, computer scientists, geographers and mathematicians, the second group studies how computer-scientific and mathematical modeling can be deployed to assess how religious views spread in the ancient Mediterraenean. 

Computer simulation is becoming increasingly common in the field of humanities and social sciences, said Kaše. With his work, he hopes to show that historical themes can be attractive and innovative. 

Kaše’s studies the history of religion, with a focus on the ancient Mediterranean period, as well as the theory of religion, based on texts about the evolution of the human psyche, culture, and behaviour, using computerizsed methods for processing data.  

With the Award, Kaše earned the prestigious opportunity to pursue further research at the Institut Jean Nicod in, Paris. 

The French Embassy has been handing out scientific prizes for Czech doctoral researchers for 25 years, recognizsing projects in chemistry, pharmacy, medicine, nuclear research, computer science, and social sciences and humanities. The laureates are automatically invited to attend a postdoctoral research stay at a selected institution in France, thanks to sponsorship from private foundations and companies. 

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