SOAS University of London

Academic Summer School at SOAS

Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage (2020 entry)

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


Programme Description

This course consists of lectures, workshops, field trips and guided tours of London, together with a guided tour of a rural/coastal region in Sussex, namely the Cinque Port of Rye and its surrounds. It will offer a wide range of approaches and agendas (both theoretical and policy related) about tourism, pilgrimage, cultural heritage, and travel more generally – including consideration of refugees and asylum seekers.

The course will be conducted in an intense, unique, and closely-knit environment providing first class knowledge/practice of and in the field. The course is open to students in a variety of disciplines including anthropology, sociology, history, geography, development studies, international relations, art – as well as disciplines in Art and Humanities more generally. 

The course will be structured in blocks of the three topics: week one: tourism; week two: pilgrimage; week three: cultural heritage.

Additional activities: In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, the course will offer a range of activities relating to the academic content to support and enhance the learning objectives (e.g. visits to museums, walking tours of London, a one day pilgrimage etc.). The Summer School office will arrange various social activities throughout the three weeks.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity and critical engagement with the main theories of Anthropology of Travel, Tourism, and Pilgrimage and their links to the growing body of travel related ethnographic work.
  • Possess a good overall grasp of the policies of governments and other institutions (such as NGOs and civil society groups) of the uses of travel, tourism and pilgrimage in economic development.
  • Demonstrate a strong grasp of the history of travel, tourism, pilgrimage and their central position in cultural heritage formation.
  • Marshal empirical evidence in argument-driven presentations in class.
  • Inspire students to continue with further study or interest in the Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage.

15 SOAS Credits

This course is worth 15 credits in the UK system. 15 credits is equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution.


Assessment is optional and will be in the form of a 2,500 word essay to be handed in 2 weeks after the end of the course.

SOAS Students

Current SOAS students selecting this course as an open option module will not be charged the tuition-fee. For further information and assistance, please contact


For more information please complete our enquiries form

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: 29 June – 17 July 2020

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • You will have completed one year of undergraduate study at the time of joining the Academic Summer School. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.

Featured events

3 weeks



Programme Structure

Week One: Tourism
The course will open with an Introduction to the summer course

  • Tourism, Pilgrimage, and Cultural Heritage: Scope of the Field
  • Historical contexts of global tourism
  • Contemporary tourism: from the global to the local – key ethnographies.
  • Issues arising: tourist motivations (knowledge, pleasure), nature of hospitality, tourism policy and planning.
  • Field visits including London’s main tourist centres; “off the beaten track” routes in London; back of house visits to theatres and musical venues.

Week Two: Pilgrimage
On lines of above scheme stressing pilgrimage in, inter alia, Far East, Middle East, Mediterranean, Europe.

  • Definition and geographical/historical backgrounds to global pilgrimage sites
  • Visual, textual, and musical representations of pilgrimage
  • Contemporary pilgrimage, including pilgrimage in Iran, Palestine/Israel, France, Ireland, and elsewhere.
    Pilgrimage and identity.
  • Field visit to East Sussex and small rural pilgrimage/tourist trails. Finding secular pilgrims in rural and coastal sites.

Week three: Cultural Heritage
Analysis of the nature and uses of Cultural Heritage in specific regions including Middle East, Mediterranean, Balkans, Asia, and Europe, including London.

  • Definition of cultural heritage and its associations.
  • The socio-political role of cultural heritage in the Mediterranean and Middle-East.
  • Cultural heritage and social processes in China, Japan, Philippines.
  • UNESCO and World Heritage Sites.
  • Field Visits in London identifying main and subsidiary cultural heritage sites and the people and communities to which they are associated.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact hours:

50 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.

Core hours:

Monday - Friday, 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course will offer a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc).

Sample Reading list:
  • Scott, J. and Selwyn,T. (eds) 2010, Thinking Through Tourism, Oxford, Berg.
  • Selwyn, T. 2018 “Tourism, Travel, and Pilgrimage”, H. Callan (ed) The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, Wiley.
  • Eade, J. and M. Sallnow (eds), 2000, Contesting the Sacred: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage, University of Illinois Press.
  • Di Giovine, M. abd D. Picard (eds), 2017, The Seductions of Pilgrimage: Sacred Journeys Afar and Astray in the Western Religious Tradition, Wiley.
  • Muhamedovic, S. 2018, Waiting for Elija, Berghahn.
  • Masoudi, R. 2018, The Rite of Urban Passage, Berghahn.
  • Frost, N. and T. Selwyn, 2018. Travelling Towards Home, Berghahn.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

  • Credit-assessed: £1,750
  • Non-assessed: £1,600

Application fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.


10% early-bird discount when you apply by 31 March

15% discount for SOAS Alumni (including Academic Summer School alumni)

20% discount for our partner institutions


Information regarding accommodation will be released soon.

Academic Summer School Ambassador Scholarship 2020

The SOAS Academic Summer School is delighted to offer four tuition-fee waiver scholarships to passionate students with a desire to make a difference in the world.

The scholarships will cover the tuition-fee for one Academic Summer School course in 2020. 

Application Deadline: 2020-03-02 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


How to Apply

Application Form

Entry Requirements

In order to join the Academic Summer School, students should meet the following entry requirements:

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
  • Participants must be 18 or over at the time of attendance.
  • Fluency in English language is recommended for non-credit courses, but essential for SOAS Accredited courses. Proficiency can be demonstrated through:
  • IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all sub scores.
  • TOEFL Paper based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills. 
  • Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
  • If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses) you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university. 
  • If you are unsure whether you meet the above entry requirements, please contact us to discuss your application.

Enrolment of applicants who do not meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us about your application and we will be happy to help. 

Application Procedure

Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Application Deadline

Applications now accepted on a rolling basis for all courses

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