November 18


Stage 18 // Mansilla de las Mulas – León [18,5km]

Today we have a short stage, and we will appreciate it, because we are reaching Leon, one of the most interesting stops in the way. This small city was the capital of the old kingdom of Leon and is full of archaeology and heritage, literally everywhere. It also has some great places to drink and eat…

In the image we can see the crypt of San isidoro, one of the most beautiful corners of the Spanish Romanesque. A must stop when you arrive to León or right before leaving if the timing is not right.


Johanna A. Pacyga

Conversion is a notoriously difficult object for archaeologists to study. Material practices of conversion are not necessarily indicative of internal, personal, changes in belief (i.e., if the neophyte enacts the correct religious practice, does this mean they have truly altered their belief system?). Recent archaeological work on conversion has focused on the landscape, considering the landscape as a potential reservoir of traditional belief (landscape as resistant to conversion), as well as the concept of landscape as a technology of conversion hegemonically deployed by those wishing to effect conversion. What if we trouble these divergent approaches by considering the question of movement in relation to placemaking and broader landscapes of conversion? For example, how might pilgrimage—that is, religious movement across space, landscape, from place to place—trouble this either/or distinction by emphasizing movement as a means of thinking through the constant construction of place in a way that is neither simply a landscape indexing the ritual past nor a hegemonic reordering of (spiritual) life, but a creative ongoing project of spirituality anchored in the material terrain. Along this vein, this session asks: 1), How does specifically religious-minded movement (re)shape the landscape in contexts of conversion (alternatively, how were such movements shaped by the potentially conservative landscape)? 2), In what ways is conversion—as both a personal and communal experience—produced and nurtured through engagements with placemaking (including pilgrimage, community-building, the construction of ritual religious spaces, etc.)? Rather than focusing solely on colonial missionization (although this is a prime context of inquiry), this session is interested in a global scope of the experience, practice, and materiality associated with an experience of true faith, specifically in the context or aftermath of conversion (whether successful or not) in any period or locale.

List of Papers

  1. 17:00 // James L. Flexner (University of Sydney), “A walk on the beach, a walk in the woods: hiking as kastom methodology in Vanuatu”
  2. 17:20 // Shelona Klatzow (University of Cape Town), “Conversion, Coersion and Covert Raiding at the Platberg Mission Station, Eastern Free State, South Africa”
  3. 17:40 // Olanrewaju Lasisi (College of William and Mary), “Political and Religious Landscapes of Conversion: Movements and Ritual Dramas among the Ijebu of South Western Nigeria”
  4. 18:00 // Johanna A. Pacyga (The University of Chicago), “Taking Root: Catholic Conversion, Movement, and Placemaking in Nineteenth-century Senegal”
  5. 18:20 // Emma Gilheany (The University of Chicago), “Navigating Icescapes in Nunatsiavut: Missionization and its Wintery Discontents”
  6. 18:40 // Scotti Norman (Wake Forest University), “Dancing, Trembling, and Chanting: Bodily Movements, Sacred Spaces, and the Enactment of Anti-Catholic Praxis in Sixteenth-Century Highland Peru”
  7. 19:00 // Alexander Menaker (University of Texas at Austin), “Regionality: Landscapes of History and Power in the Valley of Volcanoes, Southern Peruvian Andes”
  8. 19:20 // Kaitlin M. Brown (California State University, Channel Islands), “Evaluating the effects of conversion among Native Californians during the Mission period: Relocation programs and the making of new indigenous communities”

Join the session at 17:00 GMT!

ZOOM access:
ID: 867 4567 4626
Passcode: 611264

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