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Sex, Death, and Fiction: Evolutionary Literary and Film Study


This course introduces students to the history and theory of evolutionary thinking in the humanities. The evolutionary human sciences are entering a mature phase, but have until recently operated on an inadequate understanding of "culture," and especially "imaginative culture": religion, ideology, myth, the arts, and intellectual life. That weakness is now being corrected by evolutionary thinking emerging from the humanities, as evolutionary approaches to literature and film are growing in importance and visibility.

Find full course description in the course catalogue.    


Students complete a written take-home assignment on a topic they choose themselves amounting to 8-12 standard pages.  The topic and method used in the assignment must be relevant in relation to the content of the course and are subject to approval by the lecturer.

The assignment may be written in a group of up to five students, but it must be possible to assess the contribution of each individual student.

The assignment is handed in online after the course ends and presence in Aarhus is not needed.

Admission Requirements

Course specific:

To apply for the course you must either be enrolled in a bachelor's degree, have a bachelor's degree or have passed a qualifying entry examination.    


Exchange Students: nomination from your home university

Freemovers: documentation for English Language proficiency

You can read more about the admission here.

Lecturer 1

Joseph Carroll


Joseph Carroll is a Curators’ Professor in English at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, USA. He is editor in chief of the journal Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture. In his research, he integrates evolutionary social science and literary theory and criticism.

Academic profile

Lecturer 2

Emelie Jonsson   


Emelie Jonsson received her PhD in English from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2017. She is an evolutionary literary scholar, primarily concerned with the friction between human psychology and naturalistic cosmology. She has published on E. M. Forster, H. G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, and T. H. Huxley. She has also collaborated on quantitative projects concerning intellectual history and biocultural theory. She is an associate editor of Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture.

Academic profile