Event Title

Finding the Way: A Spiritual Search on the Camino de Santiago

Presenter Information

Benjamin Lester, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Diamond 323

Start Date

30-4-2015 2:40 PM

End Date

30-4-2015 3:55 PM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

In 2014, over 237,000 pilgrims walked the Camino de Santiago, or Way of Saint James. This Christian pilgrimage to Santiago in northern Spain is over 1200 years old but has seen a massive revival since 1993 when it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Motivations to walk vary from tourism to Christian expression, but I study five cultural works that represent a contemporary journey along the French Way, and I argue that they guide the user to walk with a spiritual do-it-yourself attitude. I argue that these works show disenchantment with contemporary Christianity and modern tourism, encouraging nostalgia-driven motives for walking, specifically along the routes extension to Fisterre (Lands End). While the official Christian pilgrimage ends in Santiago, the five works studied promote this extension to Fisterre, thus contradicting the religious motivation in which the pilgrimage concludes at the Cathedral of Santiago. In continuing to Fisterre, pilgrims seek a sunset rather than the remains of Saint James the Apostle as the conclusion to their spiritual voyage. While no longer fundamentally religious in nature, walking the Camino provides the pilgrim with an alternative form of tourism and an open space to practice personal spirituality.

Faculty Sponsor

Debra Campbell

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Religious Studies Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Humanities

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1877

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Apr 30th, 2:40 PM Apr 30th, 3:55 PM

Finding the Way: A Spiritual Search on the Camino de Santiago

Diamond 323

In 2014, over 237,000 pilgrims walked the Camino de Santiago, or Way of Saint James. This Christian pilgrimage to Santiago in northern Spain is over 1200 years old but has seen a massive revival since 1993 when it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Motivations to walk vary from tourism to Christian expression, but I study five cultural works that represent a contemporary journey along the French Way, and I argue that they guide the user to walk with a spiritual do-it-yourself attitude. I argue that these works show disenchantment with contemporary Christianity and modern tourism, encouraging nostalgia-driven motives for walking, specifically along the routes extension to Fisterre (Lands End). While the official Christian pilgrimage ends in Santiago, the five works studied promote this extension to Fisterre, thus contradicting the religious motivation in which the pilgrimage concludes at the Cathedral of Santiago. In continuing to Fisterre, pilgrims seek a sunset rather than the remains of Saint James the Apostle as the conclusion to their spiritual voyage. While no longer fundamentally religious in nature, walking the Camino provides the pilgrim with an alternative form of tourism and an open space to practice personal spirituality.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/374