Calls for papers


International Journal of Tourism Anthropology
International Journal of Tourism Anthropology


Special Issue on: "Sites of Religion, Sites of Heritage: Exploring the Interface between Religion and Heritage in Tourist Destinations"

Guest Editors:
Dr. Michael A. Di Giovine, University of Chicago and Institute of Chicago, USA
Prof. Josep-Maria Garcia-Fuentes, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain

This special issue invites submissions that examine the interrelationship between pilgrimage sites and heritage sites: how religious sites are considered to be indicative of a community’s broader cultural heritage, and, conversely (and often simultaneously) how heritage sites become places of pilgrimage to certain groups of visitors who ascribe deep meaning to them.

Tourist destinations in general often espouse different and frequently conflicting meanings (Di Giovine 2009; Singh 2011), necessitating, for site managers, both an understanding of, as well as a sensitivity to, the different communities who stake claims to them. Such sensitivity is perhaps most necessary at sites with heightened ideological value—“hyper-meaningful” places that play a significant and often central role in a group’s cosmology, social identity, or ability to maintain well-being; both pilgrimage sites and heritage sites (local, national, regional, and “universal”) are examples par excellence of this phenomenon.

The overlap between pilgrimage sites and heritage sites is great, particularly in the post-modern 21st century tourism milieu, wherein visitors often call their secular travels “pilgrimages” (scholars have discussed “pilgrimages” to Elvis’ Graceland and Michael Jackson’s Neverland, to the Baseball Hall of Fame, to important restaurants, and, most prominently, to imagined “homelands,” ancestral motherlands, or sites of cultural heritage). This interface is most evident—and indeed, enshrined—in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, which, particularly in its first twenty years, ascribed “universal cultural value” primarily to religious places that have historically been pilgrimage sites: cathedrals, temples, shrines, sacred landscapes, and pilgrimage routes. 

We therefore especially welcome abstracts that interrogate the ways in which pilgrimages are conceived of as heritage and vice-versa, either historically or in contemporary society; the unique issues inherent in such formal and informal designations; a discussion of the implications of such shifting values; and/or the unique challenges for sustainably developing and managing these complex and multi-vocal sites.

This issue encourages an engagement with tourism, pilgrimage studies, heritage, and issues of identity formation. Submissions may be from various disciplines, including social anthropology, sociology, folklore, human geography, history, economics, management science, politics, heritage studies, management, development studies, and tourism and leisure studies, as well as religious studies and related disciplines. Collaborative works by interdisciplinary research teams are sought. Both empirical and theoretical papers are welcome.

Subject Coverage
Topics appropriate for this special issue include, but are not limited to, the following subject areas:

  • The link between religious pilgrimage and heritage
  • Theorising religious heritage versus religion-and-heritage sites
  • Value claims on religious / heritage sites
  • Religious and ethical implications of heritage / pilgrimage destinations
  • Management implications for sites of both religious and heritage values
  • Nationalism and religion at tourist sites
  • Secular pilgrimage sites / sites of “political religions”
  • Religious tourism and sustainable development
  • Religion’s role in cultural preservation
  • Pilgrimage-Heritage-Tourism trajectory
  • UNESCO World Heritage sites (particularly those of religious significance)
  • Green Pilgrimage Cities Network

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).

All papers are refereed through a peer review process.

All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page.

Important Dates

Deadline for submission of manuscripts: 15 September, 2013