Course Syllabus

Course Description:

Pilgrimage is one of the most important aspects of religious life; indeed, in a very real sense, life itself can considered to be a pilgrimage. This course explores the dynamics of pilgrimage across several different religious traditions. The heart of this course will be a close look at several key pilgrimage sites and the actual pilgrims who visit these sites; we will thus approach pilgrimage from a number of different angles (theoretical, doctrinal, ritual, social) and we will utilize a variety of sources (including classical, ethnographic studies of actual pilgrimages, and focused studies of particular pilgrimage places) with the goal of gaining a thorough understanding of the phenomena of pilgrimage in all of its complexity.

Course Objectives:

Course Goals:

  1. to acquaint you with the dynamics of pilgrimage across several religions
  2. to examine several specific pilgrimage phenomena
  3. to help you think critically about the differences between different pilgrimage traditions
  4. to expose you to some of the key debates and disputes within the study of pilgrimage

Course Objectives:

  1. You will gain a broad understanding of the phenomenon of pilgrimage in religions
  2. You will learn about the commonalities and differences between different pilgrimage traditions
  3. You will learn about the social and political dimensions of pilgrimage
  4. You will be exposed to the ways in which pilgrimage forms both personal and social identities

Course Requirements:

Grades will be based on: 1. One optional essay of approximately 1500 words (25%, or 0%); 2. Active participation in all aspects of the course (75%, or 100%), including timely, thoughtful postings and participation during Gathering Days. Participation Grades will be based on the quality and consistency of your posts; this includes both your initial substantive post, and your responses to your peers.

Late posts will not be counted: seriously, this course depends on timely posts and timely responses. If you miss a week, you will not be able to go back and make it up.

By the end of Week Eight, you will submit a 1000 word (maximum) Evaluation of your postings for the course, along with the grade you believe you deserve. Although I will reserve the final decision in this matter, I will very heavily weigh your own evaluation of your written participation in the course in assigning you a final grade.

Incompletes and Pass/Fail are not offered for this course

Discussion Guidelines

Required Readings

Books: Conrad Rudolph, Pilgrimage to the End of the World: The Road to Santiago de Compostela (Chicago)

Additional readings will be made available by the instructor.


Course Summary:

Date Details Due