Conference organized by the Middle East Studies, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford.

26-28 January 2018, University of Oxford


  • New theoretical thinking on ethno-religious borders and boundary making, including processes of minoritisation and majoritisation, and the role of religion in ethnic mobilisation and conflict.
  • The role of intellectuals such as religious leaders, ulama, historians, thinkers, writers, and artists in constructing new sectarian/national identities.
  • Colonialism and its influences on the nature of borders and boundary making.
  • Challenges to the nation-state framework and management of diversity in an environment of transforming boundaries and borders.
  • The dynamics of sectarianism and sectarianisation.
  • Interventions and influences of transnational political or religious networks, mass migration and diaspora movements on ethno-religious mobilisation.
  • Impact of new technologies and media.
  • Official or unofficial representations of ethnic/religious identities as inclusive or exclusive, or of society as deeply divided.
  • Theoretical reflections on the utility of ‘religion’ as a comparative category in studying sectarianism.


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