Sacralizing Security: Religion, Violence and Authority (SACRASEC) ERC Consolidator Project

Sacralizing Security Conference

Sacralizing Security Conference, October 3rd & 4th 2023, Utrecht

This conference brought together leading Dutch and international scholars from anthropology, urban studies, religious studies, and conflict- and security studies to analyze the role of religious vigilante organizations in megacities in the Global South. Participants were invited to focus on the question of how religion relates to authority, political order, and (in)security in contemporary societies. Presenters were asked to prepare a 20-minute presentation that highlights the intersection of religion and security from an anthropological and/or bottom-up perspective, preferably in urban settings but not necessarily.


Day 1: Tuesday October 3rd

10:00 – 10:15. Introduction and Opening, Martijn Oosterbaan (Utrecht University)


Indonesia panel 1)

Moderator: Tessa Diphoorn (Utrecht University)

10:15-10:35. Laurens Bakker (University of Amsterdam): Repentance and Picking Fights. Minahassan Christians as anti-Islam fighters

10:35- 10:55. Zaki Arrobi (Utrecht University): The gardu and the alleyway mosque: the political materiality of security and religion  in urban kampung of  Jakarta

10:55-11:15. Andy Fuller (Utrecht University): Contesting Jakarta: The Forum Betawi Rempug and Urban Vigilantism

11:15-11:45. Discussant: Steffen Jensen (Aalborg University)


11:45 – 12:45 Break


Indonesia panel 2)

Moderator: Jolien van Veen (Utrecht University)

12:45-13:05. Kari Telle (Chr Michelsen Institute): Care, immunization, religious vigilantism

13:05-13:25. Cahyo Pamungkas (BRIN Indonesia): POLITICAL ISLAM AND RELIGIOUS VIGILANTISM IN URBAN CITIES: Cases of Banten, Solo, Jakarta & Makassar

13:25-13:55. Discussant: Andy Fuller (Utrecht University)


13:55 – 14:15 Break


Latin America Panel

Moderator: Hayal Akarsu (Utrecht University)

14:15 – 14:35 Rivke Jaffe (University of Amsterdam): Criminal leaders and the geography of authority

14:35 – 14:55 Kees Koonings (Utrecht University): God’s peace? Religion and resilience in Latin American violent cityscapes.

14:55 – 15:15 Wil Pansters (Utrecht University): The iconic aspirations of Santa Muerte devotion (Mexico)

15:15 – 15:45 Discussant: Nikkie Wiegink (Utrecht University)


Day 2: Wednesday October 4th

Nigeria panel

Moderator: Zaki Arrobi (Utrecht University)

10:00 – 10:20. Murtala Ibrahim (Utrecht University): The Drink of the Gods: Traditional Religion and Informal Security Governance among the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) in Lagos

10:20 – 10:40. Danoye Oguntola-Laguda (Lagos State University): SACRALIZING SECURITY: RELIGIOUS VIGILANTISM IN LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA

10:40 – 11:00. Discussant: Marloes Janson (SOAS University of London)


11:00 -11:30 Break


Brazil panel

Moderator: Martijn Oosterbaan (Utrecht University)

11:30 – 11:50 Patricia Birman (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro): Religion on the peripheries of Rio de Janeiro through the specificity of its territorial regimes.

11:50 – 12:10 Carly Machado (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro): Urban Pentecostalism and the management of risk and protection in the city of Rio de Janeiro

12:10 – 12:30 Jolien van Veen (Utrecht University): Between Punishment, Protection and Redemption: Religion and security in the subúrbio carioca

12:30 – 13:00 Discussant: Kees Koonings (Utrecht University)


13:00-14:00 Break


14:00 – 15:30. Roundtable.

Moderator: Martijn Oosterbaan (Utrecht University)

Kickoff: Steffen Jensen (Aalborg University), Marloes Janson (SOAS University of London)