chapter  11
18 Pages

Breaking Barriers, Eroding Hegemony: Reflections on the Importance of Multilingual Studies of Pilgrimage beyond the Anglophone World


However, this situation has been questioned by scholars working in nonAnglophone and/or non-Christian contexts, who have pointed to other linguistic traditions that also offer rich areas of research and analysis in the field, and whose existence alone (to say nothing of the insights provided) challenges the hegemonic position held by the Anglophone and Christiancentric field. The existence of such non-Anglophone traditions also implicitly questions the ways in which, because of the academic dominance of the English language, the field has operated within the context of one term (pilgrimage) when, in many different linguistic contexts, a far richer vocabulary of religiously-oriented travel exists. Such reductive dynamics have certainly

been a source of frustration to scholars working in contexts other than English or Christianity. While they are aware that the Anglophone tradition has produced copious and often stimulating studies of pilgrimage, they also recognize that it neither constitutes the totality of the field, nor commands a monopoly on theoretical insights. That frustration is intensified by the sense that those working in other language areas often find their work ignored or paid less attention than it merits. Even important studies on pilgrimage that have been written in English have faced this problem when they have focused on pilgrimage in contexts beyond the Christian world-a concern, for example, felt among scholars researching pilgrim travel and practice in China.1