Sandra M. Rios Oyola, PhD.

sandra-profile-picDr Sandra Milena Rios Oyola is a recent postdoctoral research fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM), Utrecht University. She is a member of the NWO-ORA research project on ‘the Impact of Transitional Justice Measures on Democratic Institution-building’. In the scope of this project, she focused on the cross-national comparison of Hungary, Japan, East Germany and South Korea and conducted field visits and interviews in three of these countries.

Sandra holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Aberdeen (2014); her PhD was funded by a competitive scholarship by the Leverhulme Trust,  ’Compromise after Conflict’ Programme. She has written on social memory, transitional justice, and on religious peacebuilding. Sandra received her MA in Religious Studies from Florida International University and her BA in Sociology from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Sandra has participated in several international conferences and has taught on sociology, conflict and peace studies and qualitative research methods.

 Contact: sriosoyola@gmail.com


2017. (Book contract) with Natascha Mueller-Hirth (eds.) Time and Temporality in the Study of Transitional and Post-Conflict Societies. Routledge. Sociology series.

2017. (Forthcoming) with Acaron, T. Peacebuilding and Dance in Afro-Colombian Funerary Ritual. In: S. Appleby, J. Mitchell, H. Culberston and T. Hawksley (eds), The Arts of Peacebuilding,  Oxford University Press ‘Strategic Peacebuilding’ Series.

2017. (Forthcoming) Transforming Forgiveness Discourse. In: John Brewer (ed.) Compromise after Conflict. Palgrave Mcmillan.

2016. (Accepted with revisions) La Memoria Social como Herramienta de la Justicia Transicional. Revista Colombiana de Sociología.

2015.  Religion, Social Memory and Conflict: The Massacre of Bojayá in Colombia, Hampshire: Palgrave McMillan, Studies in Compromise after Conflict series.

2014. ‘Religion and the Social Reconstruction of Memory Amid Violence in Bojayá, Chocó (Colombia): Creating Transitional Justice from Below’, in The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics (2014), edited by Stanley D. Brunn.

2014. Davies, Douglas J. and Warne, Nathaniel A. (2014) Emotions and Religious Dynamics. Surrey: Ashgate. In: Bulletin of the British Association for the Study of Religion. No. 124, May. [Available online]

2014. Levine, Daniel (2012). Politics, Religion and Society in Latin America. Politics, Religion & Ideology 15 (1) pp. 184-186.  DOI:10.1080/21567689.2014.889383

2013. Religious Emotions and Religious Peacebuilding: The Case of Bojayá (Colombia). Diskus: Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions, 15. [Online] DOI:

2010. Análisis del Discurso Neopentecostal. In: C. Tejeiro (Ed.) El Pentecostalismo en Colombia. Prácticas religiosas, liderazgo y participación política. Observatorio Diversidad Religiosa. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. ISBN: 978-958-8063-72-0

2010Colombia: Religious Scenario. In: Hemisphere, vol 19, Spring. pp 11-12 [Available online]

2009. Protestantism in Colombia, In: D. Patte (Ed.) The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Other Publications

2016. Colombia: peace must overcome the legacy of fear. In: Latin America Bureau, , April 27.

2010. Colombia: Religious Scenario. In: Hemisphere, vol 19, Spring. pp 11-12 (ISSN 08983038),

2010. La construcción retórica de los milagros de sanación en Iglesias Neopentecostales, [Rhetorical construction of healing miracles in Neopentecostal Churches]. In: Memorias del II Congreso Internacional sobre diversidad y dinámicas del Cristianismo en América Latina, Diversidad y Dinámicas del Cristianismo en America Latina. Editorial Universidad San Buenaventura, Serie: Religión, Sociedad y Política.

2008. El Espíritu Neopentecostal y la Estética de Consumo, [The Neopentecostal Spirit and the Consummerism Aesthetic]. In: Memorias del XII Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Religión y Etnicidad: Cambios Culturales, Conflictos y Transformaciones Religiosas CD. Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá. ISBN: 970-94056-4-0


Invited Presentations

2016. Reconstructing Dignity through Transitional Justice? Preserving the dignity of the dead in absence of funerary rituals, Missing Memorials and Absent Bodies, NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies, 20-21 September.

2016. Religión, Memoria Social y Construcción de Paz. Seminario Memorias, Movilización Social y Grupos Étnicos en Colombia. Universidad de Antioquia, 8 September.

2016. Challenges to Peace. Symposium Colombia v. FARC, negotiating a durable peace, Urios, Utrecht University, 4 April.

2015. Religion, social memory, and conflict: the massacre of Bojayá in Colombia, Book L(a)unch Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights, Utrecht University, 24 November.

2015. Transitional Justice and Civic Participation, Conference Challenging Conventional Wisdom: Assessing the Impact of Transitional Justice Mechanisms on Democratic Institution-Building, Utrecht University, 19 November.

2015. Civic Participation and Civic Trust: A comparative study of the East German and Hungarian Transitions, Disillusions and Accomplishments: How TJ Changes Societies. Utrecht University, 31 July.

2015. Religion, Emotions and Memory, Religion, Body, Media, Heritage Seminar at the Meertens Institute, 16 March.

2015. Rituals, Emotions and Conflict, Ritual in Society Seminar at Tilburg University, 25 February.

2014. Religion and Social Construction of Memory. The Massacre of Bojayá, Virtual presentation at the Afro-Religious-Therapeutical System in Colombia Seminar, 27 May.

2013. Colombia: Building Peace amidst Conflict through Social Memory, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science, Pathways to Peace, University of Aberdeen, 7 November.

2013. Religious Peacebuilding and Emancipatory Peacebuilding: The Diocese of Quibdó, Seminar at the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics. University of St Andrews, 18 October.

2013. Religious Peacebuilding as Emancipatory Peacebuilding, Post-Graduate Seminar at the Department of Sociology. University of Aberdeen, 16 October

2013. Multiple Memories and Interpretative Repertoires of the Massacre of Bojayá, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Violence, a symposium, University of Aberdeen, 17-18 June.

2013.  Religion and the Social Reconstruction of Memory amid Violence in Bojayá, Working Group on Violence and Peacebuilding in Colombia, University of St Andrews, 19 April.

2012. Religion, Social Memory and Transitional Justice from Below. The Case of Bojayá (Chocó, Colombia), In Between Bodies A Symposium. Interdisciplinary Approaches to Violence, University of Aberdeen, 17-18 June.

Paper Presentations (selected)

2016. (forthcoming) The Role of Memorialization in Democratic Institution-building, Sixth Annual Conference of the Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network, NIOD, 3-4 December.

2016. (forthcoming) Dignity in Transitional Justice. Future of Human Dignity, Utrecht. 11-13 October.

2015. Religious Peacebuilding as Emancipatory Peacebuilding, International Conference: Inequality, Peace and Conflict, 10 September, University of Manchester.

2015. Uses of Memory and Ritual in Political Resistance and Transition in Bojayá (Colombia), XXI  World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions, 24 August, University of Erfurt.

2013 with Thania Acarón. Embodied Space and Afro-Colombian Funerary Ritual. In: The Arts of Peacebuilding. 15-16 August. Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Edinburgh.

2013. Social Emotions in Societies in Conflict: The Case of Bojayá (Colombia). In: Panel on Violence and affective states in contemporary Latin America. Annual Conference of the Society for Latin American Studies, 11-12 April, University of Manchester.

2013. Death, Memory and Religion amid Violence: A Case Study on the Massacre of Bojayá. In: Material Religion, Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association, Sociology of Religion Study Group, 9-11 April, Durham.

2012. Religious emotions and Religious Peacebuilding: The Case of Bojayá (Colombia). In: Annual Conference of the British Association for the Study of Religion at the University of Winchester. Borders, Boundaries and Transgressions: within and between religions. 5-7 September, Winchester.

2011. Religion and the Traumatic Memories of Colombians in Miami. In: Global Migration and Multiculturalism: Religion, Society, Policy and Politics. 28-29 June. Joint international multidisciplinary conference with the Institute for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society Free University Amsterdam, and University of Surrey.

2011. Uses of Sociology of Religion in TJ. In: Religion and Social Theory: Developing a New Agenda for the Sociology of Religion. Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association, Sociology of Religion Study Group. 11 – 13 April, Birmingham.


2015    ‘Disillusions and Accomplishments: How Transitional Justice Changes Societies’. 30- 31 July, Utrecht University.

2015    Collaborative TJDI workshop with research teams at Utrecht University and University of East London, Utrecht University.

2015    Conference ‘Challenging Conventional Wisdom: Assessing the Impact of TJ on Democratic Institution-building’. 18 November, Utrecht University.