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Jordan Kiper

Assistant Professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
University Hall (UH) 3133
(205) 975-3199

Research and Teaching Interests: Anthropology of Human Rights; Experimental Philosophy; Political and Legal Anthropology; Propaganda, Fake News and Hate Speech; Religion and Cooperation; Religious Cognition; Transitional Justice; Violence

Office Hours: By appointment


  • BA, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Anthropology, Art History, Philosophy
  • MA, Colorado State University, Philosophy
  • MA, University of Connecticut, Anthropology (Graduate Certificates in Cognitive Science & Human Rights)
  • PhD, University of Connecticut, Anthropology

I am a cultural anthropologist concerned with human cooperation and conflict. My work in these areas has been highly interdisciplinary, drawing primarily from anthropology but also cognitive science, human rights, and philosophy. For my dissertation, I examined the causes of collective violence and the role of propaganda during periods of social unrest and military campaigns targeting recognizable civilian populations. My study centered on the Yugoslav Wars and included extensive fieldwork with ex-fighters and survivors throughout the Balkans.

Building on my dissertation research, my current work explores the effects of hate speech and propaganda; digital authoritarianism and social media campaigns against human rights defenders; cross-cultural beliefs about human rights; the health and political lives of combatants after war; and the role of religion in fostering cooperation. To explore these issues, I have conducted lab and field experiments, cross-cultural surveys, and ethnography in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia. I am also in the preliminary stages of fieldwork in Northern Ireland. Other ongoing projects include predictors of support for addressing human rights violations, cross-cultural variations in understandings of knowledge and wisdom, and moral cognition.

In addition to my research, I have been involved in veteran efforts to heal from the moral wounds of war and to reconcile after conflict, including work with veterans of the Vietnam War and veterans of the Bosnian and Kosovo Wars. I am also the former United States Ambassador for the Human Rights Measurement Initiative and continue to participate in professional associations dedicated to monitoring, upholding, and understanding the social practice of human rights and addressing challenges of propaganda and hate speech.

Graduate Applicants: If you share any of these interests and are considering graduate school, please contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Scholars @ UAB Profile Visit Dr. Kiper's website

  • Recent Courses
    • ANTH 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
    • ANTH 120: Language and Culture
    • ANTH 320/628: Comparative Religion
    • ANTH 419/519: Religion, Reconciliation, and Forgiveness
    • ANTH 424/524: Transitional Justice and Human Rights
    • ANTH 431/531: Memory and Memorialization
    • ANTH 443/543: Propaganda, Fake News, and Hate Speech
  • Select Publications
    • Kiper, J., Lillie, C., Wilson, R., Knapp, B., Gwen, Y., & Harris, L. (2023). Dangerous speech: A cross-cultural study of dehumanization and revenge.  Journal of Cognition and Culture, 23, 170-200.
    • Kiper, J. (2023). Religious hate propaganda: Dangerous accusations and the meaning of religious persecution in light of the cognitive science of religion. Religions, 14(2), 1-19. 
    • Kiper, J. (2022). Belief in human rights: An opportunity for cross-cultural cognitive science (pp. 515-535). In J. Musolino (Ed.), The Cognitive Science of Belief. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. 
    • Sosis, R., & Kiper, J. (2022). Sport as a meaning-making system: Insights from the study of religion. Religions, 13(10), 1-16.
    • Kiper, J. (2022). Remembering the causes of collective violence in the Yugoslav Wars. Nationalities Papers, 1-24.
    • Vasilyeva, N., Smith, K.M., Barr, K., Kiper, J., Stich, S., Machery, E., Barrett, H.C. (2021). Evaluating information and misinformation during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence for epistemic vigilance. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 43.
    • Kiper, Jordan. (2021). An obstacle to decolonizing Europe: White nationalism and its Cooption of Serbian Propaganda. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, 112-122.
    • Kiper, Jordan, Yeongjin Gwon, and Richard A. Wilson. (2020). How propaganda works: Nationalism, revenge and empathy in Serbia. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 20, 403-430
    • Kiper, Jordan, and Richard Sosis. (2020). The systemics of violent religious nationalism: A case study of the Yugoslav Wars. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 14(1), 45-70.
    • Wilson, Richard Ashby, and Jordan Kiper (2020). Brandenburg in an era of populism: Risk analysis in the first amendment. Law and Public Affairs, 5(2), 57-121.
    • Kiper, Jordan. (2019). How dangerous propaganda works. In P. Dojčinović (Ed.), Propaganda and International Criminal Law: From Cognition to Criminality(pp. 217-236). New York: Routledge.
    • DiVietro, Susie and Jordan Kiper. (2018), Perspectives on Forgiveness: Contrasting Approaches to Concepts of Forgiveness and Revenge. The Netherlands: Brill.
    • Kiper, Jordan and Richard Sosis. (2017). The Logic and location of strong reciprocity: Anthropological and philosophical considerations. In M. Li & D. Tracer (Ed.), Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Fairness, Equity and Justice(pp. 107-128). New York: Springer.
    • Kiper, Jordan and Richard Sosis. (2016). Shaking the tyrant’s bloody robe: Evolutionary perspectives on intergroup conflict, religion, and ethnic violence. Politics and Life Sciences, 35(1), 27-40.
    • Kiper, Jordan. (2015). War propaganda, war crimes, and post-conflict justice in Serbia: An ethnographic account. The International Journal of Human Rights, 19(5), 572-591.
    • Kiper, Jordan. (2015). Toward an anthropology of war propaganda. Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 38(1), 129-146.
    • Kiper, Jordan and Richard Sosis. (2014). Moral intuitions and the religious system: An adaptationist account. Philosophy, Theology and the Sciences, 1(2), 172-199.
    • Kiper, Jordan. (2013) Why anthropology remains integral to cognitive science. Topics in Cognitive Science – Journal of the Cognitive Science Society, 6(1), 151-152.
  • Academic Distinctions & Professional Societies
    • American Anthropological Association
    • American Psychology Law Society
    • Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
    • Cognitive Science Society
    • International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion
    • Law and Society Association
    • Society for the Anthropology of Religion
    • Anthropology of Consciousness
    • Interest Group on NGOs and Nonprofits (IGNN)