CALL FOR PAPERS: Sacred Spaces and Political Places: Fostering Regional Identities through Historical and Literary Medieval Pilgrimage I and II

The 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies

Kalamazoo, Michigan

May 12 – 15 2016

Among the many factors impelling medieval pilgrimage, these sessions seek to examine those elements which fostered regional identity. The dedication of pilgrims traveling varying distances to experience the divine at sacred destinations was simultaneously enhanced by patrons who promoted traffic to and maintained pilgrimage sites. Saints’ shrines, tombs, and holy relics reinforced cultural and social identities relevant to the geographical and religious characteristics of a given locale and they helped shape and strengthen the prevailing political landscapes.
These two panels call for papers which closely examine Muslim and/or Christian medieval texts, both literary and historical, which foster regional identity through their promotive character as they call attention to medieval sites of pilgrimage, relics, and/or the history of saints. By engaging in this dialogue through a cross-cultural lens, we not only aim to evaluate the common characteristics of shrine visitation and rituals in the Middle Ages but also their disparities in both Islamic and Christian literary and historical disciplines. We welcome papers which analyze several genres of medieval texts such as romances, chronicles, hagiographies, guidebooks, and travelogues to explore this topic. We urge papers to consider how textual accounts of pilgrimage and pilgrimage sites relate to practical experience, how the translation and distribution of relics affected centers of power in a region, or how legends associated with specific saints contribute to the understanding of a particular locale.
Please send in your abstract of no more than 300 words to Laura Clark ( and Ali Alibhai ( by September 15th 2015. Panelists will be informed in early October 2015 regarding their acceptance in the panels.

Ouidad Hamitri

Doctorante en Histoire Médiévale à l'Université Lyon 2 et membre du CIHAM, elle travaille sur la chirurgie en Al-Andalus (Xe-XVe s.)

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