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Previous Award Recipients


  • Nadia Caidi (Professor, Faculty of Information, Univ. of Toronto) and Simon Coleman (Professor, Dept. for the Study of Religion, Univ. of Toronto) will lead a research project on the topic of pilgrimage (incorporating religious tourism) in the age of data and in the context of ethical and informational challenges relating to transnational mobility and global security. They will bring together academics, technology specialists, tourism providers, local authorities and infrastructure administrators, religious communities, and civil liberties organizations for an international Symposium in August 2024 that will result in publications and open access documents. 
  • Dr. Kiran Shinde (Planning Program, Dept. of Social Enquiry, La Trobe University) researches how pilgrimage sites are produced by and for modern-day saints. His cross-cultural, comparative analysis of sites examines two figures who show similar traits despite belonging to different religious-cultural contexts: Padre Pio of San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy (1887-1968) and Sai Baba of Shirdi in India (c. 1880-1918). His examines the pilgrimage landscape created around these popular modern-day saints. 
  • Joseph Decker (Doctoral Student, Dept. of Religious Studies, Indiana University) is completing dissertation research on the impact and implications of transnational pilgrim partnerships in Spain and Japan. Decker's ethnographic approach explores how transnational pilgrimage shapes and transforms the way pilgrims practice pilgrimage in their own home countries. 
  • Sarah Owens (Professor of Spanish, The College of Charleston) will contribute to the history of gendered pilgrimage through research on early modern religious women along Iberia’s pilgrimage routes. Her archival research recovers the crucial roles of convents and the religious women in them that helped pilgrims who fell ill on their way to Santiago and to other holy sites in early modern Iberia. 
  • Meg Muthupandiyan (Professor of Writing, Language, and Literature, Univ. of Wisconsin, Superior) will pursue field research grounded in the phenomenology of embodied experience of pilgrims and its connections to a sustainable future. Her work is driven by environmental consciousness shaped by air and light pollution, consumption practices, and the experience of being a pilgrim.
  • Celeste Ray (Professor of Anthropology, Univ. of the South) conducts fieldwork about the use of curative soils in holy well pilgrimage rites in Ireland. She identifies and documents holy well sites associated with health pilgrimages and records ritual practices that use curative soils for their antibiotic and antiviral qualities.


  • Dr. Mary Thurlkill (Professor of Religion, Univ. of Mississippi) will conduct ethnographic research on Christian and Muslim bodies within the context of medieval and contemporary pilgrimage in Vézelay and St. Maximin, France using interview and observational methods. Christians and Muslims travel from the familiar to experience the Other, and a focus on pilgrims’ bodies shifts attention from political and theological power structures to ritual performance within sacred space. Thurlkill employs Affect Theory and Trauma Studies to consider intuitive or internal responses instead of only rational concepts. Trauma Studies help uncover physical or psychic struggles on individual and social bodies.
  • Augusta Thomson (Ph.D. Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology, NYU) has done ethnographic research to examine what happens when stakeholders have conflicting, even contradictory understandings of what it means to sustain the Camino de Santiago in the digital age.  She uses participant observation, interviews, multimodal data collection and social media. Her research takes place along the Camino examining the periodic tension between pilgrims and locals over the sustainability of the trail as well as current debates about virtual versus physical travel. Thomson identifies how the Camino is perceived and practiced by diverse actors, identifies and observes key sites, and traces perceptions and practices that may determine the Camino’s future.
  • Prof. Colleen Conroy (Asst. Professor of Voice and Acting, UW-Madison) analyzes data collected to create an immersive multimedia theater experience titled “Voices from the Camino - Buen Camino,” inspired by pilgrim voices and stories encountered there. The Camino fosters a sense of connection to self, community, spirit and environment, so this project also incorporates the physical environment of Prof. Conroy’s institution in Wisconsin to craft a trail similar to Spain’s for individuals enjoy virtually with minimal travel. Oral history, storytelling and voice studies serve as foundations to answer whether performed voices and stories allow audiences to have a transformative experience of their own.
  • Nicky Gutiérrez (M.A. student in Theopoetics and Writing, Bethany Theological Seminary, Richmond, Indiana) examines how Christian poetry can draw from Japanese poetic traditions of utamakura (poem pillows) to allow Christians an organized, shared and ecumenical version of utamakura.  Biblical locations from Christian history interpreted through philosophy and aesthetics may draw from other traditions to explain key doctrines and beliefs. This project culminates in a haibun (blend of haiku and prose), and the incorporates pilgrimage within Japanese utamakura and its pilgrimage sites as well as the ongoing dialogue of place and embodied experience in the Christian tradition. Gutiérrez hopes this work will move Christian poets towards a Christian-specific canon of utamakura focused on the biblical Cave of the Apocalypse, a Christian holy site and relatively minor pilgrimage location distinct from other biblical sites on the Aegean island of Patmos.
  • Dr. Julio Vázquez Castro (Professor of Art History, Univ. of Santiago de Compostela) will conduct an interdisciplinary study to recover the historical memory of the 1963 Francoist forced relocation of the residents of Portomarín, Spain and the destruction of their medieval town when it was flooded by a new hydroelectric reservoir.  This former strategic crossing point is situated where the Camino de Santiago crosses the River Miño.  Data from this study will document what the old town was like via a virtual tour complemented by the oral recollections of former inhabitants. Modern pilgrims and tourists will be able to stroll the old town virtually including entering now submerged churches, bars and stores. Former inhabitants 80-100 years old will be able to visit their home village brought back to life and wander the streets of their youth.


  • Dino Bozonelos, Dept. of Political Science & Dept. of Global Studies, California State University, San Marcos for his study "Purposive or Organic? Pilgrimages to Orthodox Monasteries in North America".  For the Orthodox, monasteries represent the opportunity for believers to answer their deep interior yearning for the Kingdom of God.  With seventy-nine monasteries located through the United States and Canada, the authenticity of monastic life, coupled with immersion into the community during their pilgrimage, allow pilgrims to deepen their connections to the Orthodox faith.  
  • Amanda L. Scott, Assistant Professor of Early Modern European History, Pennsylvania State University for her book Pilgrim, Pastor, Pauper, Spy: The Case of Pierre de Praxelier.  Her work examines the intersection of pilgrimage, poverty, illness, and crime along the border of Spain and France in the late 16th to mid-17th centuries.  Nearly continuous warfare, famine, displacement, and economic crises stemming from cataclysmic political realignment of European superpowers produced existential anxieties.  An unfortunate traveler Don Pierre de Praxelier, a sick priest, went on pilgrimage through Spain.  Arrested on charges of espionage in Navarre in 1636, he suffered from epilepsy and a failing memory.  Was he pilgrim, pauper, vagrant criminal? Remarkably complex forensic technologies tell his story.


  • Jonathan Pitts, Associate Professor of English, Ohio Northern University, for his project "Writing Pilgrimage: Pragmatist Aesthetics and National Reconciliation on the John Muir Trail."  His work contributes to the sustained study of the transformative power of philosopher John Dewey’s aesthetics as a framework for the experiential study of pilgrimage in America.  


  • Patxi Pérez Ramallo, Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Department of Archaeology, for research that takes a multi-proxy bioarchaeological approach to understanding how cultural practices change during the Middle Ages along the northen routes of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.  Winner of the 2022 Research Award from the Institutional Chair of the Camino de Santiago and Pilgrimages.
  • Susan Dunn-Hensley, Wheaton College, Department of English and Sharenda Barlar, Wheaton College, Spanish, for their project examining medieval pilgrimage networks connecting Spain and the British Isles and the resurgence of modern pilgrimage.  Their work explores the revival of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. 
  •  Adfer Rashid Shah, Jamia Millia Islamia, Central University, New Delhi, India, for his qualitative study of "The Amarnath Yatra in Kashmir Valley: understanding pilgrimage in a Conflict Zone from the stakholder’s views and experiences."
  • Antonella Palumbo, Ph.D. in Languages, Literatures and Cultures from the School of Advanced Studies at the Unviversity “G. d’Annunxio” Chieti Pescara in Italy, for her examination of the influence of shrines to St. James and veneration of St. Michael the Archangel: their historical and anthropological connections to towns along the tratturi in central and southern Italy.




  • Kathryn Barush, Assistant Professor of Art History and Religion, Graduate Theological Union and Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara for her work on Imaging Pilgrimage.  Art as Embodied Experience (Boomsbury, 2021).
  • Maryjane Dunn, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Henderson State University and Lynn Talbot, Professor of Spanish, Roanoke College, for their proposal Reading the Camino: Creating a web-based database of texts relating to the Camino de Santiago.
  • Mary Ann Eaverly, Professor, Department of Classics, University of Florida, for her project, Parthenon, Pilgrimage, and Panathenaia: A Re-examination of Archaic Greek Votive Statues.