Urban Pilgrimage

Announcing Urban Pilgrimage

A Special Issue of Room One Thousand 

Editors: Padma Maitland, PhD Candidate, Architecture and South and Southeast Asian Studies and Lawrence Yang, PhD Candidate, East Asian Languages and Cultures

Faculty Advisers: Andrew Shanken, Associate Professor of Architecture and Winnie Wong, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric


Urban Pilgrimage is a project that has been selected from a highly competitive slate of proposals for support by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative. This web-based and print publication will be completed in Spring 2015. Along with pARTicipatory Urbanisms, the other publication project selected by the Initiative, Urban Pilgrimage represents an important example of the methodological experimentation embodied in the growing field of urban humanities.

Urban Pilgrimage will be published as a special issue of the UC Berkeley architecture journal Room One Thousand and will examine the historical and contemporary connection between cities and the itineraries of those who pass through them.

From the editors:

The connection between pilgrimage and the city is a historical one, but the need to resituate its historicity within contemporary global itineraries has never been more urgent. The search for transcendental space and the growth of secular urban forms have always been intertwined. Rome, for example, developed around a pilgrimage circuit, a pattern of growth still evident in the city today. Other places of pilgrimage, such as Mecca, became bustling centers for travel and commerce, the grounds around the sacred site offering a place both removed and protected from potential dangers. Contemporary neoliberal economies, on the other hand, have fostered new capital and human flow towards the secularized cities of iconicity that tourist and terrorists alike now target. With emerging media networks and new forms of urbanism, pilgrimage today produces topographies that demand a relocation of journeys of sacredness within contemporary trans-medial environments. To map out the novel forms of itineraries, mediations, and networks between spaces of transcendence and sites of everydayness, this proposal situates pilgrimage within an interdisciplinary call for works related to art, architecture, geography, literature, history, anthropology, urban planning, and landscape design on the theme of urban pilgrimage.

Trying to map out the diverse issues and imaginaries around the concept of urban pilgrimage, this project constructs an itinerary that re-assembles conversations among several preexisting intellectual clusters on the Berkeley campus. For the special issue, we will partner with the journal Room One Thousand. Founded on the idea of interdisciplinary discourse focused on the built environment, its contributors and editors come from diverse disciplines including Architecture, Rhetoric, Art Practice, History of Art, and Literature. The final issue will be made available on a unique website, in print, as well as through eScholarship. To see previous issues of Room One Thousand, visit: roomonethousand.com. Working around the theme of urban pilgrimage, we will also undertake a series of related working group-meetings, museum and archival tours, and experimental labs, which will contribute to the content of the issue.

Ways to get involved:

We are looking for people who are interested in contributing or reviewing essays, graphic design, production, or planning special events and collaborating with groups on campus.

Call for papers:

The call for papers is available here. Submissions in a variety of materials and formats are welcome, including academic and professional essays, photographic essays, videos, interviews, illustrations and stories. There are two suggested lengths for essays: 500-1000 words for “thought pieces” and 3,000-5,000 words for in depth research papers. Submissions are due by September 1, 2014

For inquires and submissions please email us at: roomonethousand@gmail.com

Image: "Via Francigena Sign on Route Napoleon – Switzerland." Photographer unknown.