The UNF Department of History and the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work offered two courses in Spain during the summer of 2017: Medieval Pilgrimage and the Camino de Santiago and Modern Pilgrimage Field Research. These two courses were designed to provide transformational learning opportunities. During three weeks of travel across northern Spain, students were engaged with unfamiliar cultures and languages as we traveled through five culturally distinct regions of the country: Catalonia, the Basque Country, Castile, Aragon, and Galicia. Students also stayed for five days at the University of Burgos, where they had the opportunity to participate in Spanish university life and familiarize themselves with the pace and contours of one Spanish city.
The final week of the trip involved real pilgrimage. Students walked 118 km to Santiago. During this portion of the journey, students interacted with pilgrims from across the globe as they confronted many of the same joys and hardships that faced medieval travelers. On the successful completion of the journey, students received the Compostela, an official document issued by the pilgrimage office in Santiago marking their accomplishment. Through participation in a centuries-old pilgrimage tradition that connects the ancient and modern worlds, students emerged with a more sophisticated understanding of both medieval and modern cultural landscapes. Finally, students demonstrated specific subject area knowledge by identifying and analyzing key developments related to the history of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages and connecting these to their own pilgrimage experiences.
"Medieval pilgrims sought bodily contact with the divine: to see, to smell, to touch, to hear, and even to taste the numinous presence of the saints. The body of the saint, in the memorable words of Peter Brown, served as a “joining of heaven and earth.” The saint resided in heaven among the blessed, but was simultaneously present on earth. Not surprisingly, pilgrim narratives and miracle stories frequently highlight the sensory apprehension of the saint’s presence." (read more...)
We are proud to partner with the UNF Digital Humanities Initiative, dedicated to promoting collaboration on interdisciplinary projects that combine the use of technology with materials and methodologies from the Humanities, Fine Arts and Social Sciences. The UNF Pilgrimage Project combines interdisciplinary approaches with digital and STEM technologies and applies them to the study of pilgrimage. The broad definition pilgrimage employed by the project encompasses the flow of people, ideas, technology and trade along a sacred or spiritual route. This project focuses on the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain and grew out of the noteworthy 2015 study abroad trip.
Students at the Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas in Burgos.
Through photographs and student quotes our book highlights the students’ transformational experiences. In addition, it draws on student-conducted interviews and mapping projects to illuminate the continued impact of pilgrimage in modern Spain.
During three weeks of travel across northern Spain, students were engaged with unfamiliar cultures and languages as we traveled through five culturally distinct regions of the country: Catalonia, the Basque Country, Castile, Aragon, and Galicia. Click on the map to join us in our travels.