AAR-SW Friends,

The Journal of Global Catholicism is looking a contributor on the theme of multi-sited pilgrimages. See below.

Dear Colleagues:

We are seeking contributors for a planned special issue of the Journal of Global Catholicism on the theme of multi-sited pilgrimages (call for papers pasted below). Please send abstracts of 500 words or less to kydeconinck@gmail.com by May 5. Many thanks in advance.

Kate Yanina DeConinck (University of San Diego)

Marc Roscoe Loustau (College of the Holy Cross)

Call for Papers

Pilgrimage Palimpsests: Storytelling and Intersubjectivity Across Multiple Shrines, Sites, and Routes

In many societies today, it is not uncommon for pilgrims to visit multiple pilgrimage sites, routes, and shrines over the course of their lifetimes. Each year, millions of pilgrims visit shrines administered by members of the European Marian Network (EMN), an association that facilitates collaboration among Catholic pilgrimage sites in Europe. The Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome and other pilgrim groups offer resources to travelers on routes between major shrines, like the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome. Other pilgrims pay to participate in tours led by commercial travel companies that center around visits to multiple pilgrimage sites. Alternatively, individuals may have the opportunity to visit a new shrine in a less formal or more unexpected way. A person might come across different shrines while traveling abroad for work, or she may read about a pilgrimage route online and feel compelled to visit it. Emerging technologies and modes of transportation, increasing interest in leisure travel, and porous state borders that allow for labor migration are but a few of the global dynamics that have helped to foster this growing trend of journeying to multiple shrines. Pilgrims’ questions about what it means to encounter different pilgrimage sites over the course of a lifetime can offer important new insights into the phenomenon of pilgrimage as well as clarify for scholars what is at stake in undertaking multi-sited research within the field of pilgrimage studies.

We invite proposals for articles to be included in a Special Issue of the Journal of Global Catholicism that use the concept of “pilgrimage palimpsests” to raise questions about narrative, memory, and meaning in the context of multi-sited pilgrimage research. A palimpsest refers to a manuscript page from which the text has been washed off for reuse as the basis of another document. The document becomes a palimpsest when the original writing later reemerges on the page, in and around the later text. Narratives become intertwined and meanings are destabilized as scholars attempt to decipher the original text in dialogue with later authors and stories. Palimpsests point to intersubjective frameworks that shape storytelling and the creation of narrative memories. This collection will take as its starting point the idea that, as in a palimpsest, pilgrims’ stories enact the relationship between past, present, and future in dialogue with other journeys and narratives; and this dialogue is enacted as the mutual recognition of experience that is both distinctive and shared – telling a story about a pilgrimage is an act of writing onto a text about a past self’s journeys.

We seek articles that take the notion of palimpsests as a starting point for addressing four constellations of questions raised by the practice of making multiple pilgrimages:

  1. Motivations and practices of remembering: What motivates an individual to undergo multiple pilgrimages in different contexts? Do “repeat pilgrims” strive to emulate the same experience they had during an earlier pilgrimage in a new context, or do they strive to make and re-make new experiences, memories, and narratives for themselves? To what extent do memories of past pilgrimages inform the expectations, experiences, and relationships that individuals forge during other journeys?
  2. Experience, intersubjectivity, and storytelling: How do pilgrims reconcile vastly different pilgrimage experiences through the stories they tell about their journeys? What effects do these attempts at reconciliation have on pilgrims’ understanding of pilgrimage-related experiences of healing, discovery, conversion, or other forms of self- and relational-transformation? Can walking in new spaces help individuals open up new parts themselves or fresh avenues for connection with others? Do later pilgrimages enhance or weaken the sense of intersubjectivity that one may have cultivated during an earlier journey in a different place?
  3. Emergent secular and sacred pilgrimage sites: How do unstable and negotiated notions of the secular and sacred (or religious) emerge in everyday practices of storytelling that juxtapose different pilgrimage sites? How do some pilgrimage sites come to be grouped together or distinguished from each other by the terms “secular” and “sacred” (or “religious”)? How do these notions underwrite or undermine pilgrims’ efforts to reconcile vastly different pilgrimage experiences through practices of storytelling?

Literature Review

Starting in the early 1990s, an increasingly diverse group of scholars have developed a body of literature in the “anthropology of pilgrimage.” Initial field-defining statements developed the concepts of pilgrimage communitas and ritual process (Turner and Turner 1978). Subsequent contributions included analyses of person, place, text, and mobility, as well as landscape, history, and politics (Dubisch 1995; Eade and Sallnow 1991; Frey 1998; Reader and Walter 1993; Reader 2006; Coleman and Eade 2004; Eade and Katić 2014; Maddrell et. al. 2015). Recently, studies of revived or secularizing pilgrimage sites have contributed to debates about the confluence of religion and commodification, materiality, and tourism (Cohen 1974 ,1979; Eade 2000; Graburn 1989; Coleman 2005; Maddrell 2011; Badone and Roseman 2004; Coleman and Crang 2002).

This wide variety of topics and themes points to pilgrimage studies’ thoroughgoing “eclecticism” (Reader 2005: 29), but the full implications of this eclecticism have yet to be identified in regard to multi-sited pilgrimage research. While several important early studies framed particular pilgrimage sites as studies of history and context, thus gesturing in the direction of multi-sited pilgrimage research, the primary pathways followed by pilgrimage studies scholars to date has led to descriptions of single shrines or journeys on one pilgrimage route (Dubisch 1995; Dubisch and Michalowski 2001; Orsi 1987; Margry 2008). Perhaps reflecting anthropology’s longstanding orientation toward cultural boundedness as well as the influence of packaged tours’ “once-in-a-lifetime” trips, edited collections in pilgrimage studies have been typically divided up by the formula: “one chapter, one shrine/route.” This singular approach is represented even among studies that emphasize circularity over pilgrimage as a linear, to-and-fro journey (Haberman 1994).

The one chapter/monograph, one shrine/route approach thus leaves exciting new pathways open for research that illuminates how pilgrims develop and negotiate meaning through visits to multiple shrines and pilgrimage sites or through journeys on multiple routes. The concept of “pilgrimage palimpsests” can reframe debates in three areas that have defined the study of pilgrimage: motivations and practices of memory; experience, intersubjectivity, and storytelling; and the emerging relationship between the secular and sacred in contemporary societies.

Scholars are invited to submit 500 word proposals for articles in the fields of religious studies, anthropology, history, sociology, lived/contextual theology, psychology, philosophy, comparative literature, visual studies, and media studies. Although we welcome article proposals using a variety of methods and styles of argumentation, we are especially interested in scholars who approach the study of pilgrimage with sensitivity to everyday practice and an ethnographic interest in the dynamics of lived religion.

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis with a final deadline of Friday, May 5. Please submit via email to kydeconinck@gmail.com. Authors who are invited to participate in the SI will then be asked to submit a formal abstract by September 1, 2017 and the submission of final manuscripts for peer-review will be on January 15, 2018.

Special Issue editors:

Dr. Marc Roscoe Loustau

Visiting Lecturer and Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Religious Studies

College of the Holy Cross


Dr. Kate Yanina DeConinck

Lecturer in the Department of Theology & Religious Studies

University of San Diego



Dr. Michael Agnew

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation, and Excellence in Teaching

McMaster University


Dr. Yulia Buyskykh

The Centre for Cultural Research

National Research Institute of Ukrainian Studies (Kyiv, Ukraine)


Dr. Jill Dubisch

Regents’ Professor Emeritus

Northern Arizona University



Works Cited


Badone, Ellen and Sharon R. Roseman

2004    Intersecting Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage and Tourism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.


Cohen, Eric

1974    Who Is a Tourist? A Conceptual Review. Sociological Review 22: 27–53.


1979    A Phenomenology of Tourist Experiences. Sociology 13:179–201.


Coleman, Simon

2005    “Putting It All Together Again: Pilgrimage, Healing at Walsingham.” In Pilgrimage and Healing, J. Dubisch and M. Winkelman, eds. Pp. 91-134. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.


Coleman, Simon and Mike Crang, eds.

2002    Tourism: Between Place and Performance. New York: Berghahn Books.


Coleman, Simon and John Eade.

2004    Reframing Pilgrimage: Cultures in Motion. European Association of Social Anthropologists: Psychology Press.


DubischJill and Raymond Michalowski

2001    Run for the Wall: Remembering Vietnam on a Motorcycle Pilgrimage. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.



1995    In a Different Place: Pilgrimage, Gender and Politics at a Greek Island Shrine. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Eade, John and Michael Sallnow, eds.

1991    Contesting the Sacred: The Anthropology of Christian Pilgrimage. London: Routledge.


EadeJohn and Mario Katić.

2014. Pilgrimage, Politics and Place-making in Eastern Europe: Crossing the Borders. Farnham, England: Ashgate.


Frey, Nancy

1998    Pilgrim Stories: On and Off the Road to Santiago. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Graburn, Nelson H.

1989    “Tourism: The Sacred Journey.” In Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism. Valene L. Smith, ed. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Pp. 21-36


Kaell, Hillary

2014. Walking Where Jesus Walked: American Christians and Holy Land Pilgrimage. New York: New York University Press.


Maddrell, Avril

2011    “Praying the Keeills:” Rhythm, Meaning, and Experience on Pilgrimage Journeys in the Isle of Man. Landabrefid. 25: 15-29.


Maddrell, Avril, Alan Terry and Tim Gale, eds.

2015    Sacred Mobilities: Journeys of Belief and Belonging. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.


Margry, Peter J.

2011    Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World: New Itineraries into the Sacred. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.


Reader, Ian

2006    Making Pilgrimages: Meaning and Practice in Shikoku. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.


Reader, Ian and Tony Walter, eds

1993    Pilgrimage in Popular Culture. Basingstoke: Macmillan.


Contact Info:

Kate DeConinck, Th.D.

Contact Email: