From 28 November 2019 10:00 to 29 November 2019 16:00

A Religious Studies Perspective

Seminar: The 'things' of conflict

De Bartholomeusnacht (1572). Bron: Wikimedia/Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts
The St. Bartholomew's Day (1572). Source: Wikimedia/Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts

From Terry Jones, barbecuing a Quran in 2010, to the black and orange gear marking political difference between executioners and victims in the beheading-video of 21 Copts in 2015; ‘things’ disclose, create and contest specific conflict-positions and conflict-frames. But while ‘things’ are often at the core of violent conflict, not much attention has been given yet to ‘what matter does’ within conflict. This mini-seminar focuses 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, violent conflict is approached by analyzing ‘things’ as a key to understand conflict-positions, guided by the following questions: How do religious actors engage and mobilize ‘things’ to physically and symbolically position themselves in conflict situations? What role do specific portrayals of human bodies and attunements of the senses have in violent conflict? How and why are contestations of ‘images’ understood as offensive or blasphemous? How do digital technologies shape and reshape conflict-matter?

Religious Matters

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. For further information, please contact Lucien van Liere ( or Erik Meinema (

Start date and time
28 November 2019 10:00
End date and time
29 November 2019 16:00