Title

Pilgrimage and Social Change in China's Western Development

Lead Author Major

Development & Cultural Change

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Laura Bathurst

Faculty Mentor Department

International Studies

Abstract/Artist Statement

Pilgrimage has long played an important role in many of the world's religions; examples include the Muslim hajj, visitations to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, and trips to the Holy Land in Abrahamic religions. There are a multitude of others. My research focuses on the specific meanings, functions, and forms of Buddhist pilgrimage. I examine Buddhist pilgrimage traditions as they changed through history and look for evidence of the mechanisms by which they are re-created and reinvented in new forms. To this end, I draw on available anthropological and historical literature. In addition, I analyze translations of pilgrimage guides and oral histories from Tibetan areas in order to identify and understand differences between how pilgrimage is described in authoritative accounts and how it is actually practiced. This research is part of a larger, long-term project which seeks to understand the relationship between development in western China and its influence upon traditional Buddhist pilgrimage practices. More specifically, I’m interested in how changing tourist infrastructures have contributed to changes in Buddhist pilgrimage. China's regional development plan has taken an east to west approach, and the western provinces are just now beginning to see rapid infrastructure change. This project contributes to a deeper understanding of the reality of contemporary pilgrimage in the context of modernization.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 216

Start Date

21-4-2011 5:00 PM

End Date

21-4-2011 8:00 PM

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Apr 21st, 5:00 PM Apr 21st, 8:00 PM

Pilgrimage and Social Change in China's Western Development

DeRosa University Center, Room 216

Pilgrimage has long played an important role in many of the world's religions; examples include the Muslim hajj, visitations to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, and trips to the Holy Land in Abrahamic religions. There are a multitude of others. My research focuses on the specific meanings, functions, and forms of Buddhist pilgrimage. I examine Buddhist pilgrimage traditions as they changed through history and look for evidence of the mechanisms by which they are re-created and reinvented in new forms. To this end, I draw on available anthropological and historical literature. In addition, I analyze translations of pilgrimage guides and oral histories from Tibetan areas in order to identify and understand differences between how pilgrimage is described in authoritative accounts and how it is actually practiced. This research is part of a larger, long-term project which seeks to understand the relationship between development in western China and its influence upon traditional Buddhist pilgrimage practices. More specifically, I’m interested in how changing tourist infrastructures have contributed to changes in Buddhist pilgrimage. China's regional development plan has taken an east to west approach, and the western provinces are just now beginning to see rapid infrastructure change. This project contributes to a deeper understanding of the reality of contemporary pilgrimage in the context of modernization.