This conference, by bringing together academics interested in various forms of contemporary pilgrimage, travel and ritual, is aiming to test the conceptual limitations of the religious and to relocate this concept in contemporary forms of social practice. The conference seeks to examine the meanings and roots of religious festivity within the context of tourism and related studies, the ways by which tourists arrive at, and consume religious festivity, and the ways in which touristic practice encounters, and in some instances shapes, the religious. In a world apparently struggling with the boundaries of 'the religious', we are interested in the social practice of tourism, as a spatial displacement of the human body creating, a priori, a liminal space for mental and physical recreation. Situating this approach within the field of tourism, we hope, permits to analyse important shifts and transformations of traditional liturgical practices, manifested in particular by the veneration of new, now touristic forms of 'sacred' objects, spaces and elements ('nature', 'culture', 'art', 'sun', 'water', etc.).
Initially, the conference will discuss theoretical analogies between tourism and religious pilgrimage practice. They will focus, on one hand, on the touristic dimensions of forms of pilgrimage commonly accepted to be 'religious'. On the other hand, this will approach the religious dimensions of tourism practice, commonly accepted to be of a secular nature. This initial debate will create space to discuss the political dimensions of the making of the religious in the contemporary world, in particular by focusing on the mobilization of tourism and tourism audiences to formulate and legitimize particular political structures and social boundaries of the religious. These political dimensions will also be approached by focusing on the transnational cultural and political economics of international tourism with religious and liturgical practices and elements being mobilised as a form of economic resource consumed by tourists.
A selection of papers accepted for this conference includes:
The Festival of Sacrifice and Travellers to the City of Heaven (Makka) by Razaq Raj, UK
Fatima – the Religious Tourism Altar, by Maria Inęs Pinho, Portugal
A Call to Religious Festivity: Reconstructing New Orleans Tourist by Tourist, by Richard W. Hallett and Judith Kaplan-Weinger, USA
In search of the sacred: religious pilgrimages in South Africa, by Felicite Fairer-Wessels, South Africa
Shopping and Seeking? : Pick’n’mix Religion and the Consumer Society, by Elizabeth Carnegie, UK
“January 10”: Vodun Festivity in Benin. From Public Holiday to Tourist Attraction, by Jung Ran Forte, France
Television Journeys to the Margin: Pilgrimage, Travelogue and ‘Reality’ Television, by David Dunn, UK
Hari Nyepi in Bali: One Void Day in Paradise, by K. Thirumaran, Singapore
Reconfiguring the roots/routes of the sacred: The Tourist’s Quest for the Lost Vagabond, by Alexandra Arellano, UK
Sacred Tourism and Secular Pilgrimage in Sri Lanka, by Daniel Bass, USA
Pilgrimage, Tourism and Religious Tourism at Sacred Sites in India, by Kiran Shinde, Australia
Festivals and Carnivals: Centering the Visitor - Promoting A Sense of Spirituality in the Caribbean, by Jackie Mulligan, UK
Jubilee and the Divine Routes of Kings: Royalty, Tourism and Ceremonial, by Philip Long, UK
Spiritual Tourism: Religion and Spirituality in Travel and Tourism, by Alex Norman, Australia
The conference is designed to be a discussion led, small scale event hosting approximately 30 international delegates. In the tradition of the Journeys of Expression series, we wish to animate an interdisciplinary debate on the suggested themes and welcome paper proposals from academics from various disciplinary backgrounds including: tourism studies, anthropology, cultural studies, cultural geography, religious studies, theology, philosophy, performance studies, cultural economics, politics, etc.
We would be happy for late paper abstracts addressing the following questions: Within the contemporary transnationalised world, how do we make sense of the religious - its symbolic expression, its politicisation etc. - through both festivity and tourism? How do festivals mobilise religious symbols to tell stories and make visible particular representations of the self? What are the festive roles attributed to, or taken by tourists and how are these integrated with forms of festive exchange and ritual? And, how can a better understanding of tourism-festival relationships shape agendas for 'intercultural dialogue' and peace as articulated by international organisations such as UNESCO.
If you wish to submit a paper proposal, please send a 300-word abstract with full address and institutional affiliation details as an electronic file to Daniela Carl (firstname.lastname@example.org ). Please find regularly updated information regarding this conference, registration procedures and (at a later stage) a programme at our website www.tourism-culture.com.
Daniela S. Carl
Centre for Tourism & Cultural Change
Sheffield Hallam University
Owen Building, Howard Street
Sheffield S1 1WB
Phone: +44 (0)114-225 5105
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