Encountering God: personal reflections on ‘geographer as pilgrim’

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The geography of religion can be explored from a number of different perspectives. This paper takes an autobiographical approach to explore the numinous experience of God from the point of view of a practising Christian geographer. Such geographical aspects of faith experience remain an under-researched area. The context for the exploration is an academic conference in the city of Bologna, which became, in turn, an experience of religious tourism, a pilgrimage and an unexpected encounter with God. It is contextualized in terms of debates on identity, the nature of pilgrimage, memorials of death, and time–space continuums and fractures.

Keywords: Bologna; Christianity; Motherhood of God; identity; memorials; pilgrimage

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0004-0894.2004.00221.x

Affiliations: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, Email: t.r.slater@bham.ac.uk

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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