Religious Pilgrimage Focus of First A.R. Sanchez Lecture at TAMIU

The role that pilgrimages play in different religions will be the focus of the first lecture to be held this year as part of the 2003-2004 cycle of the A.R. Sánchez Distinguished Lecture Series Monday, Oct. 13 at Texas A&M International University's Student Center Ballroom.

Dr. Edward Stanton, professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of Kentucky, will discuss the past and present of pilgrimage in various religions, as well as his own experience as a walker and leaders of students on a long journey in his lecture titled, "Pilgrimage."

Dr. Stanton's lecture is free and open to the public.

In his lecture, Stanton will pose the question, "Why has the ancient practice of pilgrimage survived and flourished in the 21st century? His presentation will be enhanced by images and music, and will be of particular interest to students and teachers of history, anthropology, cultural studies, literature, music and religion.

Stanton experienced a pilgrimage of his own when he took a 30-day, 500-mile walk along the Way of St. James, the route across northern Spain that has been followed by pilgrims for 1,000 years. This long road leads to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia Spain, which according to some, could be the last holy city in the West St. James' body was supposedly transported after he was beheaded in Judea.

In his journey, Stanton, best known for his book Road of Stars to Santiago, states that he walked by day, and slept at night in pilgrim's hospices, boarding houses, abandoned schools and churches or under the stars. Although he began his trip alone, he soon discovered that pilgrimage meant fellowship as well as solitude: his journey coincided with the modern rebirth of the Camino de Santiago. Several years later, he led a group of nine students on the route.

Stanton was the first Bingham Professor of the Humanities at the University of Kentucky and earned his B.A., M.A. and doctoral degrees at the University of California in Los Angeles. He has taught at the University of Kentucky, the Universidad Nacional and the Universidad Católica in Salta, Argentina; the Universidad Católica in Uruguay; the Universidad Complutense and the Universidad Internacional Menéndez y Pelayo in Spain.

He has received grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Spanish Ministry of Culture, and has been a Senior Fulbright Scholar in several countries in South America.

He is the author of 10 books, which include studies of the great Spanish poet and playwright, Federico García Lorca; the American writer, Ernest Hemingway; and several works on Spanish life and culture, such as Handbook of Spanish Popular Culture and Culture and Customs of Spain. With his son Daniel, he co-edited Contemporary Hispanic Quotations, an anthology of quotes by Latinos that appeared earlier this year. His books have been translated into Spanish and Arabic. He has also published poems, essays and articles in dozens of magazines and journals. He has lectured in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Spain and Great Britain.

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