Pilgrimage, Across Time and Traditions

History 103E.002

Spring 2007
Instructor (text): 
104 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Mon 10-12
Also listed as 103U.003

There has been a minor explosion of scholarship on religious pilgrimage in the last twenty years thanks, in part, to the unusual popularity of sacred journeying in our time. (Estimates run to more than 200 million pilgrims a year, most of them Christians.) Historians, anthropologists, geographers, sociologists, art historians, and religious studies scholars have been studying the subject across cultures and great stretches of time.

The purpose of this readings seminar is to catch up with the debates in this recent literature, learn about sacred journeying in different religious traditions and places, and explore some comparative leads. The emphasis is on Christian pilgrimage, but not exclusively so, and with some special attention to Latin America.

Course requirements include weekly readings during the first nine weeks of the semester, and several short papers about them; regular attendance and active participation in seminar discussions; and a ten-page final essay about a particular problem, place, tradition, or time in the history of pilgrimage based on bibliographical work, further reading and reflection that could lead to a workable 101 research project.