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Introduction

Knowledge, Ignorance, and Pilgrimage

Evgenia Mesaritou, Simon Coleman, and John Eade

Abstract

This special issue on “Knowledge, Ignorance, and Pilgrimage” highlights processes of production of knowledge and ignorance that unfold within as well as beyond pilgrimage sites. We illustrate the labor, politics, and power relations involved in the construction of sacred centers, but also the ways in which the field of study must be extended to other places where pilgrims learn to practice their religion, and live their everyday lives.

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Knowledge at a Distance, Authority, and the Pilgrim's Gaze—A Reflection

Jackie Feldman

Abstract

Two themes that surface in the articles in this collection are: Visual knowledge and the means of acquiring it—the ability of pilgrims to see and read signs while overlooking or avoiding other sources of knowledge that are visible or readily available; and the issue of authority: who propagates and gains from the teaching, images, and practices of pilgrimage?

The articles demonstrate that distance from pilgrimage sites and ignorance of local knowledge is important in intensifying pilgrims’ experience and maintaining the power of traditional authorities. While some shrines readily adopt new technologies to diffuse their messages, activities and images, pilgrimages continue to rely on embodiment and sociality to solidify communities and commitments. The variety of engagements of pilgrimages with changing media and emerging historical realities testifies to the viability of the forms and practices of pilgrimage in transmitting other kinds of knowledge.

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Materiality as an Agency of Knowledge

Competing Forms of Knowledge in Rachel's Tomb in Tiberias

Nimrod Luz

Abstract

Materiality has become a compelling register through which to examine religious manifestations and matters of belief. There is a mounting awareness among scholars of both the tangible aspects of religion and the ways in which material objects are never neutral. Following these theoretical developments, I argue that materiality can serve as a form of agency for a particular version of knowledge to become conventional and accepted as true. This emerging materiality codifies a certain version of the truth. However, such validation through matter is often challenged and categorized as fake or a myth. To illustrate my argument, I explore the newly emerging site of Rachel's Tomb in Tiberias and the competing versions of truth surrounding it. I contend that its new materiality, which has evolved in recent years, serves as a way of validating the site's new mythology. However, among locals, who are familiar with the site's previous materiality, this new knowledge is pejoratively labeled as fake or mythical.

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Non “Religious” Knowing in Pilgrimages to Sacred Sites

Greek Cypriots’ “return” Pilgrimages to the Monastery of Apostolos Andreas (Cyprus)

Evgenia Mesaritou

Abstract

Even though pilgrimages may often be directed toward what can conventionally be seen as “religious” sacred sites, religious and ritual forms of knowledge and ignorance may not necessarily be the only, or even the most prominent, forms in their workings. Focusing on Greek Cypriots’ return pilgrimages to the Christian-Orthodox monastery of Apostolos Andreas (Karpasia) under the conditions of Cyprus's ongoing division, in this article I explore the non “religious” forms of knowing and ignoring salient to pilgrimages to sacred religious sites, the conditions under which they become relevant, and the risks associated with them. Showing how pilgrimages to the monastery of Apostolos Andreas are situated within a larger framework of seeing “our places,” I will argue that remembering and knowing these places is the type of knowledge most commonly sought out by pilgrims, while also exploring what the stakes of not knowing/forgetting them may be felt to be. An exclusive focus on “religious” forms of knowledge and ignorance would obscure the ways in which pilgrimage is often embedded in everyday social and political concerns.

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“Welcome to Divinity College”

Subjectification in Pilgrimage to the Iran-Iraq War Battlefields in Contemporary Iran

Mahshid Zandi

Abstract

“Welcome to Divinity College,” reads a welcome sign to the state-sponsored fieldtrips of the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988) battlefields in Iran. Rahian-e Noor battlefield tours follow the model of Shia pilgrimage and commemorative rituals, while also tapping into nationalist discourses of the country as an ancient homeland. I ask whether these trips are a means of disseminating knowledge, and what forms of ignorance are assumed to prevail among the visitors that this “Divinity College” seeks to eliminate? Even more importantly, since the tours are state-sponsored, what ignorances are rendered possible, if not encouraged, at the cost of this selective knowledge dissemination? Drawing on fieldwork, I argue that the tours provide a space of encounter with what is presupposed as the visitors’ already acquired knowledge. On RN tours, both knowledge and ignorance are co-constitutive of the transformative power of pilgrimage, where ultimate knowledge is interpreted as putting the already-known-words into deeds.

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‘What is going on here?’ Gazing, Knowledge and the Body at a Pilgrimage Shrine

John Eade

Abstract

This article focuses primarily on the role of the camera in representing the famous, much visited Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes, France, and what this role tells us about the relationship between gazing, knowledge, and the body. After outlining the historical development of the shrine, the discussion proceeds to consider the growth of popular media and the cinematic gaze, the expansion of tourism, debates concerning the morality of gazing at bodies as personal cameras and smartphones becoming increasingly available and used at the shrine, the representation of human and saintly bodies, and the part played by the camera in the attempt to ensure security.

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Book Reviews

Lourdes Zamanillo Tamborrel, Joseph M. Cheer, Jeet Dogra, Irina Herrschner, David Wills, and Petra Kavrečič

Siobhan Carroll, An Empire of Air and Water: Uncolonizable Space in the British Imagination, 1750–1850 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 290 pp., ISBN 9780812246780, $59.95 (Cloth).

Ann Brigham, American Road Narratives: Reimagining Mobility in Literature and Film (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015), x + 262 pp., ISBN 978-0-8139-3750-2, US $29.50 (paperback).

Sue Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism, 2nd ed. (Bristol: Channel View Publications, 2016), xxv + 311 pp., ISBN: 9781845415853, $40.00 (paperback).

Michael Carroll, Greece: A Literary Guide for Travellers (London: I. B. Tauris, 2017), xiv + 290 pp. ISBN: 978-1-78453-380-9, £16.99 (hardcover).

John Eade and Mario Katić (eds.), Military Pilgrimage and Battlefield Tourism: Commemorating the Dead (London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017), xxi + 164 pp., ISBN: 9781472483621, $140 (hardcover).

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Counting Up the Lies

A Self-Reflexive Investigation of Craft and Fictionalization in a Modern Travel Book

Tim Hannigan

Travel writers seldom reveal the degree to which they deploy fictional elements in their notionally nonfictional books, nor do they discuss the precise motivations for and mechanics of fictionalization and fabrication in travel writing. In this article a travel-writing practitioner turned travel-writing scholar analyzes his own work: the thirteen-year-old manuscript of The Ghost Islands, an unpublished travel book about Indonesia. This analysis reveals various patterns of fabrication across what was presented as and intended to be a “true account,” including the craft-driven fabrications necessitated by reordering and amalgamating events, the omissions generated by attempts to overcome belatedness and to express antitouristic sentiments, the fictional elements introduced through the handling of dialogue and translation, and the self-fictionalization impelled by awareness of genre conventions. The article highlights the significance of writerly craft as a key—and largely overlooked—variable in the scholarly analysis of travel-writing texts.

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Edwin Abbott’s Flatland and Victorian Anthropology

Valerie M. Smith

Although early reviewers of Edwin Abbott’s Flatland recognized the novel as a fictional travelogue, the travelogue aspect of the novel remains underexamined. This essay examines Flatland as a travelogue and as a work of ethnographic criticism in relation to the emergence of Victorian anthropology as a science. Situating Flatland in relation to the emergence of Victorian anthropology as a science and in relation to Notes and Queries on Anthropology, For the Use of Travellers and Residents in Uncivilized Lands (1874)—in particular to its concerns with the dangers of cultural assumptions—provides a means of tackling the problem both early reviewers and more recent scholars have noted concerning the marked differences between the novel’s two parts and the difficulties of making sense of the novel as a whole.

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More Than Souvenirs

Lady Annie Brassey’s Curated Collections

Alison Clark, Catherine Harvey, Louise Kenward, and Julian Porter

Lady Annie Brassey (1839–1887) was a well-known Victorian travel writer who was also a collector, photographer, ethnographer, zoologist, and botanist and who traveled around the world aboard the privately owned yacht the Sunbeam. During these voyages she amassed a collection of approximately six thousand objects. Much more than tourist souvenirs, the collection shows a rigorous academic understanding of the disciplines she was collecting within. The ethnographic material, which makes up one-third of the collection, has gained little attention. Using her travel writing as a primary source, this article will interrogate Brassey’s role as the maker of this collection, someone whose class allowed her to travel and to pursue museum collection, curation, and education to a near-professional level. Through three case studies this article will consider how she collected and curated her own museum and used her collection for public benefit.