Sacred Journeys 5th Global Conference: Pilgrimage & Beyond will be held by Indiana University (IU) Europe Gateway, Berlin, Germany on July 5 to 6, 2018.
The latest research indicates that more than 400 million people embark annually on traditional pilgrimages in Saudi Arabia, India, Japan, and elsewhere, with the numbers steadily increasing. Pilgrimage is one of the most ancient practices of humankind and is associated with a great variety of religious and spiritual traditions, beliefs and sacred geographies. As a global phenomenon, pilgrimage facilitates interaction between and among diverse peoples from countless cultures, occupations, and walks of life. In the 5th Global Conference, we will continue to explore the many personal, interpersonal, intercultural, and international dimensions of these often profound events. This includes similarities and differences in the practice in Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Taoism, and other traditions, as well as secular pilgrimage. The impact of the internet and globalization, pilgrimage as protest, and pilgrimage and peace building, among others, are all topics of interest, as are the concepts of the internal pilgrimage and the journey of self-discovery.
Among the key issues that emerged from earlier Sacred Journeys conferences were:
- Definition of Pilgrimage: ‘Travel for transformation’ embraces the sacred journey as a potential turning point in one’s life. Questions arise as to how and when a journey becomes ‘sacred’. Does tourism merely observe the authentic in others, whereas pilgrimage seeks it for oneself? When is a tourist a pilgrim and vice versa?
- Reinforcing a Vision of the Unity of Humanity: While many pilgrimages have a political dimension and political leaders often manipulate pilgrims in ways detrimental to peace, how can the concept of pilgrimage lend itself to envisioning a world united in difference?
- Pilgrimage and Globalization: Technology is impacting pilgrims in innumerable ways. Infrastructural and support services are also improving, and journeys once thought to be too difficult are now within reach of vast numbers of pilgrims. Will modern conveniences alter the traditional experience of pilgrimage or create entirely new experiences?
- The Challenge of Modernity: What does pilgrimage offer that is not found in the routines of modern daily life? In the search for meaning, belonging or identity, some pilgrims will cling to the familiar and reaffirm what is believed ‘true’ at local levels. What kinds of trends along these lines might we forecast for the future?
- Secular Pilgrimage: Each year, large numbers of pilgrims visit secular pilgrimage sites, like those of pop culture heroes. What are the similarities and differences between sacred and secular pilgrimages? What does it mean to be an ‘authentic’ pilgrim?
Many other related themes can be considered for presentation. Among these are (1) pilgrimage and the marketplace; (2) the metaphor of the journey as explored by writers, artists, performers, and singers, including humanists, agnostics, atheists, and musicians; (3) pilgrimage and ‘miracles’ and the related topic of thanksgiving; and (4) ‘dark’ pilgrimages to sites of remembrance and commemoration.
The deadline for proposals: February 28, 2018
Conference Date: July 5-6, 2018
Venue: Indiana University (IU) Europe Gateway, Berlin, Germany
Submitting Your Proposal
Proposals should be submitted no later than Wednesday, 28 February 2018 to Ian McIntosh, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publishing Your Work
Part of the conference’s ethos is to provide an opportunity for sound work to be published in reputable academic journals. As such, we have established linkages with the University of the Philippines Manila’s The Reflective Practitioner, BePress’ International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage, and MDPI AG’s /Religions/. You will have the opportunity to expand your draft paper for submission to one of these three journals.