Annual RC21 Conference 2011

The struggle to belong. Dealing with diversity in 21st century urban settings
Amsterdam (The Netherlands), July 7-9 2011

Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research – Urban Studies
University of Amsterdam – The Netherlands

14. Religion and Urban Space

Contrary to perspectives that envisioned the modern city as a secular space, contemporary cities around the world display a wide variety of religious movements, buildings and media, ranging from mosques, Hindu temples and mega-churches to Christian billboards and Muslim soundscapes. The presence of religious movements points our attention to the fact that the transcendent quality of religion goes hand in hand with its (re)territorialization. Furthermore, as spatiality is part and parcel of the constitution of religion, religious ideas and/or opinions about religion profoundly affect our understandings of space and place. Such a perspective on religion goes beyond the supposition of much urban theory that religion is peripheral to the discussions on the urban condition. Instead, it urges us to explore the intertwinement between popular religiosity and the social and material structure of urban space. Such explorations do not have be confined to discussions about religious architecture but should ideally include investigations of the implicit or taken for granted nature of religious (and/or secular) spaces in the city and their relation to the hegemonic distinctions between public and private domains.
This panel thus invites contributors to explore the connections between urban space and religion by looking at the ways in which religious movements, ideas and practices circulate in contemporary cities. Under what circumstances do they acquire their material forms and what are the consequences for our notions of place and space?

Martijn Oosterbaan, Department of Cultural Anthropology, Utrecht University. Email:

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21 December 2011
Deadline for abstract submission

10 January 2011
Notification of selected abstracts

1 March 2011
Registration open

15 May 2011
Deadline for early bird registration and for (some) hotel options

15 May 2011
Deadline for paper submission

15 June 2011
Papers online

7-9 July 2011