Religious Pilgrimage Subject of First A.R. Sánchez Lecture at TAMIU

The meaning of pilgrimages and the roles they play in various religions will be explored during the first of four installments of the 2003-2004 A.R. Sánchez Distinguished Lecture Series Monday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. in Texas A&M International University's Student Center Ballroom.

The annual lecture series brings noted speakers to TAMIU. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

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 pilgrimages in various religions, as well as his own experience as a walker and leader of students on the road in his lecture titled, "Pilgrimage."

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

During the lecture, Stanton will pose the question, "Why has the ancient practice of pilgrimage survived and flourished in the 21st century?" His lecture 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.

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.

The A.R. Sánchez Distinguished Lecture Series is presented through the vision and generosity of Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Sánchez Jr.

For further information, please contact the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at 326-2460 or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 429.

University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu