Honors College to Offer 'Pilgrimage' Study Abroad Course in May 2018

Honors College Dean Lynda Coon and architecture professor Kim Sexton will lead students on a pilgrimage from Paris to the "end of the world" in Finisterra, Spain.
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Honors College Dean Lynda Coon and architecture professor Kim Sexton will lead students on a pilgrimage from Paris to the "end of the world" in Finisterra, Spain.

Honors students will retrace the steps of medieval pilgrims following the storied Camino de Santiago in the May 2018 intersession course Honors Passport: Pilgrimage. Beginning with the Gothic splendors of medieval Paris and terminating at the "end of the world" in Finisterra, Spain, these students will visit spectacular sites associated with famous figures from the medieval era: kings, queens, abbesses, scholars, warriors and heretics. 

The course will be led by Lynda Coon, Honors College dean and medieval church historian, and Kim Sexton, an associate professor of architecture whose research focuses on late medieval and Renaissance Italy. 

"Along the way, our students will encounter breathtaking landscapes and sites, as well as contemporary pilgrims following the Way of St. James, which has drawn ever-increasing numbers in recent years," Dean Coon said. "Exploring pilgrimage then and now will be one of the central themes of this course."

The journey will include sites from disparate epochs, from Arles' Roman amphitheater, which stands as an ancient witness to early Christian martyrdoms, to the portals of medieval cathedrals that narrate stories of sin and salvation, crusader and infidel. 

"Our goal in this course is to train students at ground level how to interpret the fabric of medieval cities within their modern contexts," Kim Sexton said. "Viewing art and architecture on screen is a mere prelude to the experience of medieval spaces in person. Our knowledge of history — and of ourselves — is incomplete without it."  

Each student will be assigned a monument or topic to teach on site, ranging from the crusade-inspired repertoire of stained glass at Paris' Sainte-Chapelle to the Cistercian Royal Abbey in León, Spain, where abbesses ruled over an entire region. Students also will walk sections of the medieval camino, including the 10-kilometer hike into the gorgeous Romanesque city of Conques and a climb through the Pyrenees over the Somport pass.

Students interested in participating should visit the Office of Study Abroad website to apply for Honors Passport: Pilgrimage. Participation in Pilgrimage is limited to 16 honors students and a brief follow-up interview may be required. Students will be accepted on a rolling basis. Applications submitted by Nov. 1, will be given priority consideration; applications will be accepted until Feb. 1, 2018. Honors College study abroad grant funding is available. 

Pilgrimage is the third in a series of Honors Passport intersession courses offered by the Honors College. These signature study abroad experiences take top faculty and honors students to historically and culturally significant sites around the globe. Honors students have studied opera and the Hapsburg Empire in Vienna and Prague, and Incan culture and the Spanish Conquest in Peru. Future Honors Passport courses in Sicily, India and Mexico are under discussion, and the Honors College is assessing interest in a Peru trip for honors alumni and friends next summer. 


Kendall Curlee, director of communications
Honors College
479-575-2024, kcurlee@uark.edu


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