With the release of its inaugural issue in 2006, The Senses and Society journal proclaimed a “sensual revolution” in the humanities and social sciences. The ensuing decade has seen a boom in sensory studies, resulting in research networks, museum exhibitions, and a wealth of publications. This interdisciplinary conference hosted at the University of Oxford aims to shed light on how sensory perception shapes and is shaped by the experience of pilgrimage across cultures, faith traditions, and throughout history.
Pilgrimages present an intriguing paradox. Grounded in physical experiences—a journey (real or imagined), encounters with sites and/or relics, and commemorative tokens—they also simultaneously demand a devotional focus on the metaphysical. A ubiquitous and long-lasting devotional practice, pilgrimage is a useful lens through which to examine how humans encounter the sacred through the tools of perception available to us. Focusing on the ways in which pilgrimage engages the senses will contribute to our knowledge of how people have historically understood both religious experience and their bodies as vehicles of devotional participation.
Our speakers include early career scholars and established academics from a range of disciplines, including art history, history, literature, and religious studies. Professor Kathryn Rudy (University of St. Andrews) will deliver the keynote address. The full programme is available for download from the conference website: www.pilgrimagesenses2019.com.
The conference is open to all but space is limited and registration is required. Please visit the conference website to register (closes May 24th).