Seminar: the things of conflict; a Religious Studies perspective

28 November 2019

Seminar: The things of Conflict; A Religious Studies Perspective

Dates: Thursday 28 and Friday 29 November 2019

Venue: Utrecht University

From Terry Jones, barbecuing a Quran in 2010 and uploading his action unto YouTube, to the black and orange gear marking political difference between executioners and victims in the beheading-video of 21 Copts in 2015; from the material visibility of martyrdom in Iran and Lebanon to messianic matter in representations of victimhood in Serbia, ‘things’ disclose, create and contest specific conflict-positions and conflict-frames. But while ‘things’ are often at the core of violent conflict and expose, create and contest perspectives on (national, religious, communal) identity, not much attention has been given yet to ‘what matter does’ within (representations of) conflict.

This mini-seminar will focus on how and what ‘things’ perform in violent conflict and ask how religious groups and communities can be studied from this specific perspective.

During this seminar, we will approach violent conflict by analyzing ‘things’ as a key to understand conflict-positions. The following questions are leading: How do religious actors engage and mobilize ‘things’ to physically and symbolically position themselves in conflict situations? Does conflict play a role in the ‘sacred-making’ of things? What role do specific portrayals of human bodies and attunements of the senses have in violent conflict? How do persistent material symbols of religious traditions mediate ‘presence’ (of divinity/ies, spirits, powers) within conflict situations? How and why are contestations of ‘images’ understood as offensive or blasphemous? How do digital technologies shape and reshape conflict-matter?

Goal

The aim of this seminar is to explore possible alternative (conceptual and methodological) directions in the study of religion-related violent conflict, to bring together scholars from different disciplines engaged with the study of images, material culture, conflict, radicalization and anti-radicalization, violence and terrorism, and to use the seminar as a take-off for creating a network of scholars working on related issues. The seminar is part of the ‘Religious Matters in an Entangled World’ research program.

The papers of the seminar will be published.

Program

Day 1: 28 November 2019

10:00-10:15               
Welcome with coffee and tea

10:15-10:25               
Intro

10:25-10:40               
Lucien van Liere: Introducing the field and raising questions

10:40-11:05               
Margreet van Es: Roasting a Pig in Front of a Mosque: how Pork Matters in Pegida’s anti-Islam Protests in the Netherlands.

11:05-11:20               
Discussion and reflection

11:20-11:45               
Rashida Adum-Atta: The Politics of Purity, Disgust and Contamination: Communal Identity of Trotter (Pig) Sellers in Madina Zongo (Accra)

11:45-12:00               
Discussion and reflection

12:00-12:25               
Joseph Fosu-Ankrah: Perceiving the Beard: Urban Spaces, Corporeal Ambiguities  and Coexistence in Madina, Accra.

12:25-12:40               
Discussion and reflection

12:40-13:10               
Lunch

13:10-13:35               
Brian Larkin: Sound, Conflict and the Production of Religious Ecologies

13:35-13:50               
Discussion and reflection

13:50-14:15               
Martijn Oosterbaan: Sirens: Sound, Religion and Security in Comparative Perspective

14:15-14:30               
Discussion and reflection

14:30-14:45               
Break

14:45-15:10               
Murtala Ibrahim: The Clash of Sound and the Image: Pictures of Sheikh Ibrahim Inyass as Source of Conflict between the Tijjaniyya and the  Islamic Reformists in Jos

15:10-15:25               
Discussion and reflection

15:25-15:50               
Kauthar Khamis: ‘‘I’ll Fight for Hijab Nurses with my last Breath’’: The Politics of Muslim Women’s Identity in Ghana’s Public Space.

15:50-16:05               
Discussion and reflection

16:05-16:30               
Juliana Tesija: The ‘Stuff’ of the ETS Metaphor Archive: Absence, Messiness, and Remembering Differently

16:30-16:45               
Discussion and reflection

16:45-17:00               
Step-down: Summary and reflection

Day 2: 29 November 2019

10:00-10:25               
Tammy Wilks: ‘The Omnipotent Bulldozer: The Sensuous Materiality of Worry and Anxiousness in Nairobi

10:25-10:40               

Discussion and reflection

10:40-11:05               
Srdjan Smerac: Masculinity and Male Wartime Sexual Torture: A Lived Religion Perspective

11:05-11:20               
Discussion and reflection

11:20-11:35               
Break

11:35-12:00               
Kirsten Smeets: ‘Trade Your Gun for a Bible’: The Symbolic Positioning of ex-Gang Members as Evangelicals in El Salvador’

12:00-12:15               
Discussion and reflection

12:15-12:40               
Younes Saramifar: The Allure of Combat and Materiality of Martyrdom in the Middle East

12:40-12:55               
Discussion and reflection

12:55-13:15              
Lunch

13:15-13:40               
Joram Tarusarira: Knowledge Systems as ‘Things’ of Conflict and Peace

13:40-13:55               
Discussion and reflection

13:55-14:20               
Lucien van Liere: Memory that Matters, The Meaning of Special Things in Violent Conflict

14:20-14:35               
Discussion and reflection

14:35-15:00              
Erik Meinema: Witchcraft and Terrorism

15:00-15:15               
Discussion and reflection

15:15-15:30               
Break

15:30-16:00               
Birgit Meyer: Closing remarks

16:00                         
Drinks

For further information, please contact Lucien van Liere, l.m.vanliere@uu.nl or Erik Meinema, e.h.Meinema@uu.nl


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