Havelka, Rudolf 

Researcher , PhD student

Anthropology research team

Joint-PhD student at Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lapland
Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University Brno

Rudolf is interested in cognitive anthropology and the link between archaeology, anthropology and ecoloy for understanding sacred landscapes of Siberia. In his phD research, his goal is to develop an explanatory theory and research method of the function of places with religious symbolism in the processes of transmission of socio-religious representations. He carried out fieldwork in Siberia in the Khanty-Mansi and Yamal-Nenets autonomous regions in Russia.

Research topic:

  • Towards an ecology of the Sacred: Perception of the sacred dimension of the environment among Forest Nenets and related Uralic northern forest dwellers

Research interests

  • religious traditions of indigenous peoples of Siberia;

  • method and theory in academic study of religions;

  • evolution of religious thinking;

  • social and economic situation of the “Small nations” of Russian Federation;

  • ecology of North

Education and academic qualification

  • 2008: Magister degree (Mgr.) in Study of Religions, thesis: “The Religious Dimension of Landscape in an approach of the Cognitive Science of Religion.” Masaryk University, Brno.

  • 2006: Bachelor degree (Bc.) in Study of Religions, thesis: “The Natural Landscape of the Czech Paradise Region as the Sacred Area of the Celts.” Masaryk University, Brno.

Field researches, academic stays

  • March – April 2012: Yamalo-Nenets AO, Russian Federation

  • Oct. – Dec. 2011: Yamalo-Nenets AO, Russian Federation

  • Apr. – July 2011: Khanty-Mansi AO, Russian Federation

  • Oct. – Nov. 2010: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle

  • Sept. 2009 – May 2010: University of Lapland, Arctic Centre

Academic activities

  • since 2011: Member of the Czech Association for Social Anthropology

  • since 2008: Member of the Czech Society for the Cognitive Study of Culture

  • since 2007: Member of the Czech Association for the Study of Religions

  • 2006 – 2010: Member of the editorial board of the journal of the students of the academic study of religions Sacra

Grants and scholarships

  • 2011: Finnish Cultural Foundation – Lapland Regional Fund

  • 2011: Grant of the Deacon of Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University

  • 2009: CIMO (Scholarship of the Finnish Government Scholarship Pool)

  • 2009: Grant of the Deacon of Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University

  • 2007: Grant of the Rector of Masaryk University in category “Support of outstanding diploma thesis.”

Participation in conferences (selection)

  • 21st – 26th August 2012: End and Beginnings in Religion, Stockholm, Södertön University, EASR Conference. Contribution: “Is the religion of the Forest Nenets finished? The implicit constituents of the indigenous spirituality.”

  • 5th – 7th September 2011: Ritual Knowledge, Durham, British Association for the Study of Religion. Contribution: “Ecological approach to sacralisation of the Environment among the Forest Nenets.”

  • 3rd – 5th February 2011: Nomadic and Indigenous Spaces: Productions and Cognitions, Leipzig, Universities of Leipzig and Halle-Wittenberg. Contribution: “The cognitive and ecological approaches to the study of sacralisation of the environment in the Northern pastoral and hunter-gatherer societies. Mutual exclusivity of complementarity?.”

  • 28th – 29th May 2009: Meaning in Religion, Cognition and Culture, Aarhus, Faculty of Theology, Aarhus University. Contribution: “The Significance of Sacred Places: The Contribution of Cognitive Approaches to their Research.”

  • 3rd – 4th December 2008: The Transmission of Religious and Supernatural Ideas, Bratislava, The Slovakian Society for the Study of Religions upon Slovakian Academy of Science and Department of Ethnology of SAS. Contribution: “The Significance of Material Culture for Emergence and Transmission of Religious Ideas in Prehistoric Societies.”


  • Havelka, R. “Современная религиозность лесных ненцев глазами иностранного студента.” Cборник працы Cургутского государственного университета. 2012.

  • ---. “Lov ryb u Lesních Něnců”. [Fishing techniques of the Forest Nenets.] Chytej.cz. 2012. (Published on line: http://www.chytej.cz/clanky/1136/lov-ryb-u-lesnich-nencu/)

  • ---. “K výzkumu míst s rituálním významem: Vědecké teorie náboženského myšlení a jednání.” [A Contribution to the Research of the Sacred Places: The Scientific Theories of Religious Thought and Action.] Archeologie ve Středních Čechách 14/2, p. 955-972. 2010.

  • ---. “The Significance of Sacred Places: The Contribution and Limits of Cognitive Approaches to Their Research.” Sacra 2/7, p. 49-61. 2009.

  • ---. “Syntéza kognitivní vědy o náboženství a kognitivní archeologie: Nová perspektiva studia pravěkých náboženských systémů?” [The Cognitive Science of Religion and the Cognitive Archaeology: A New Perspective in the Study of Prehistoric Religions?] Sacra 1/6, p. 5-26. 2008.


e-mail: rhavelka(at)ulapland.fi