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Tim Crippen - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

Tim Crippen Tim Crippen

Professor of Sociology | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Crippen's research focuses on evolutionary behavior.



Tim Crippen Publication







Timothy Crippen is an expert in sociological theory and evolutionary behavioral science, as well as the evolution of stratification systems in human societies. His current research focuses on the evolution of human pair-bonding and sex-differentiated behavior. Dr. Crippen has published numerous scholarly articles in journals such as Social Forces, Sociological Perspectives, Human Nature, International Review of Sociology, Revue Européenne des Sciences Sociales, and Journal of Political and Military Sociology. He also co-authored a book on Crisis in Sociology: The Need for Darwin (1999).

Dr. Crippen has made many presentations and organized several panel sessions at meetings for various professional societies. He is an active member of the Southern Sociological Society, the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Human Ethology Society and the American Sociological Association, where he serves as a council member of the Evolution and Sociology section. In addition, he serves on the editorial board of the journal Social Forces. His biographical sketch appears in Marquis Who’s Who in America, Marquis Who’s Who in the World and Marquis Who’s Who in American Education.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Military Sociology

Political Sociology



American Education

Human Behavior

Education (3)

University of Texas at Austin: Ph.D., Sociology 1976

University of Texas at Austin: M.A., Sociology 1976

Indiana University: B.A., Sociology 1974

Affiliations (6)

  • Southern Sociological Society
  • Human Behavior and Evolution Society
  • Association for Politics and the Life Sciences
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • International Human Ethology Society
  • American Sociological Association

Courses (2)

SOCG 105: The Social World

An introduction to the nature and scope of sociology, emphasizing the development and uses of basic concepts, theories and methods of inquiry. Along with other social and behavioral scientists, sociologists strive to describe and explain human behavior in terms of scientific principles of inquiry. In its broadest sense, sociology is the scientific study of human social relationships, or of human societies. Thus, this course is organized as an introduction to the study of human societies from their most “primitive” hunter-gatherer forms to the rise and entrenchment of large-scale industrial societies. The principal goal of the course is to acquaint students with concepts, theories and techniques that are useful for systematically analyzing human societies, emphasizing their stresses and tensions as well as their harmonious coordination. In the first section of the course, we shall explore the question of why people cooperate. To cooperate means to be social, and it is a characteristic that humans share with several other classes of animals. In addressing this question, we will examine briefly the manner in which Western philosophers laid the foundation for the emergence of the modern social sciences, and we shall explore several more recently developed theoretical tools in the evolutionary behavioral sciences that enable us to grasp more effectively why humans, and other animals, behave socially. The second section of the course will focus on the nature of human social systems and on the mechanism involved in their development from their most “primitive” forager, or hunter-gatherer, forms to the rise and entrenchment of agrarian states and empires. With respect to the course of societal development, we shall be especially attentive to transformations in demography, social structure, and culture. The final section of the course will examine the state of affairs in historically more recent, industrial and industrializing human societies. The key focus will be on patterns of population growth and trends in the distribution of power and wealth within and between such societies.

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SOCG 301: Evolution and Social Behavior

The principal goals of this course are to introduce students to crucial developments in the evolutionary behavioral sciences, to illustrate how these theoretical tools have been applied with considerable success to the study of animal (including human) social behavior, and to urge students to recognize the significance of these developments for the discipline of sociology. The course is organized by reference to two parts. First, we examine the tools of evolutionary theory that underlie the reorientation of the social and behavioral sciences. Here we consider the development of evolutionary theory beginning with Darwin’s crucial insights, which laid the foundations for the theories of natural selection and sexual selection. Next we take a look at how the rediscovery of the gene eventually led to the “Modern Synthesis,” i.e., the fusion of the modern science of genetics with Darwinian evolutionism. Finally, we shall see how these prior developments laid the groundwork for the emergence of what E.O. Wilson termed the “New Synthesis,” i.e., the application of evolutionary reasoning to the study of social behavior. The second section of the course examines various strategies of social behavior from the standpoint of these evolutionary theoretical tools. We consider forms of communication, patterns of aggression and dominance orders, mating preferences and mate selection, and parenting. The course concludes with a re-emphasis on the diversity of social life across a range of animal species.

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Articles (5)

The evolutionary foundations of the religious life

International Review of Sociology

2010 Durkheim's claim is too clever by half. On one hand, his premise that religion derives from the natural order of things is the very foundation upon which the social scientific study of religion is built. In fact, religion is probably more deeply rooted in the objective realities of the social life than even Durkheim could have realized...

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Neo-Darwinian Approaches in the Social Sciences: Unwarranted Concerns and Misconceptions


1994 ABSTRACT: Sociologists have been unusually reluctant to incorporate into their explanatory systems the theoretical insights of evolutionary biology, behavioral ecology and population genetics. This skepticism toward genuinely evolutionary approaches is expressed, to varying degrees, in the reactions of Freese and Maryanski to my essay on neo-Darwinian sociology...

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An evolutionary critique of cultural analysis in sociology

Human Nature

1992 A noteworthy development that has transpired in American sociology in the past quarter century has been the increasingly sophisticated interest in the analysis of human cultural systems. Sadly, however, these analyses reveal that social scientists rarely appreciate the profoundly evolutionary aspects of human culture. The chief purpose of this essay is to address this shortcoming and to offer some tentative suggestions toward its rectification. The essay begins by briefly reviewing recent developments in the analysis of cultural systems, primarily by reference to the influential work of Wuthnow. Second, a common flaw in these approaches is addressed—namely, the absence of any recognition of the value of grounding sociocultural theory in an informed evolutionary framework—and the case is made that this shortcoming is avoidable, even within the context of the intellectual traditions of the social sciences. Third, the evolutionary foundations of human cultural behavior are explored in terms of an analysis of relevant theoretical and empirical developments in the evolutionary neurosciences. Fourth, the value of these insights is illustrated by reference to an evolutionary critique of a recent and thought-provoking contribution to the study of modern political culture—Douglas and Wildavsky’s analysis of Risk and Culture. The article concludes by emphasizing the value of and the necessity for incorporating evolutionary reasoning into the domain of sociocultural theory

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Further Notes on Religious Transformation

Social Forces

1992 Frank J. Lechner is annoyed with several scholars, including me, who claim that the secularization levels--a crucial pillar in Weberian oriented approaches to the sociology of religion--is less than persuasive. His recent Social Forces essay seeks to rebut "the case against secularization"...

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Old and New Gods in the Modern World: Toward a Theory of Religious Transformation

Social Forces

1988 ABSTRACT: Both in the popular mind and in the social sciences, images of the modern world and the forces that brought it into existence frequently incorporate some notion of secularization as an essential process. Challenging the secularization thesis is the focal concern of this essay; claims of diminishing religious significance are reinterpreted as evidence of religious transformation...

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