SOAS University of London

Academic Summer School goes Online

Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage (Online) (2020 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
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Programme Description

In the present global Coronavirus pandemic, the tourism and hospitality industries are in deep sleep. At the same time, issues of climate change are pressing down on economies and societies everywhere: we are at a moment of profound change and re-thinking of the destination of ourselves, our societies and cultures, and the planet itself.

Hospitality, tourism, and pilgrimage are in the front line.    

The course offers a wide range of theoretical and policy related approaches to travel, tourism, pilgrimage, and cultural heritage – incorporating reference to migration of all kinds and backed up by appropriate ethnographic/geographical examples from many parts of the world.

The course is taught over an intense two-week period. It is open to students/ participants from a variety of academic disciplines – anthropology, sociology, history, geography, development studies, international relations, art, music, and other disciplines in the Arts and Humanities. Participants with professional and more general experience and knowledge of the field are welcome. 


For more information, please see the course handbook:  Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage online course handbook (pdf; 232kb)  

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.
  • Take their places in professions/occupations in the tourism/pilgrimage/cultural industries fields actually and presently occupied by former graduates of the SOAS MA in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism, and Pilgrimage.
  • Gain expertise to be consultants in the field, academic researchers, artists/ photographers, marketing experts, school and college teachers, NGO leaders, tourism ministry staff, world- wide festival organisers, tour guides, urban and rural planners, smart city experts, workers in development agencies (EU, UNESCO, UNDP, WTO).


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.

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

"The field outings to museums, the pilgrimage walk, and the 'unseen' tour brought the class discussions and readings to life. They opened up new perspectives and I'm certain that I will be able to apply my newfound knowledge to my field of interest and work, so much so that I'm actively considering taking up another course at SOAS." (Astrid, Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage, 2019)


For more information please complete our enquiries form

Start of programme: 29 June - 10 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

2 weeks



Programme Schedule

Week One

  • Travel, Tourism, Pilgrimage, and Cultural Heritage: Scope of the Field
  • Historical contexts of global travel tourism, pilgrimage, and migration.
  • Contemporary tourism: from the global to the local – key ethnographies.
  • Issues arising: tourist motivations (knowledge, pleasure), nature of hospitality, tourism policy and planning.

Week Two

  • Pilgrimage and cultural heritage 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.
  • 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.
  • Analysis of the nature and uses of Cultural Heritage in specific regions including Middle East, Mediterranean, Balkans, Asia, and Europe, including London and communities to which they are associated. 

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.

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

The programme is delivered online through a Virtual Learning Environment (intranet page) that sets out the readings for each week, the guiding questions for discussion and hosts the discussion boards. This page provides a platform to share other material such as videos, internet links, quizzes and feedback on assignments. Students also have access to a vast amount of academic and policy-related material through the SOAS library.

Time Commitment

Courses are taught intensively over two weeks between Monday - Friday.  Students should expect to spend between 4-6 hours per day completing course related activities including video lectures, live tutorials, readings, forum discussion and assignments.  Students studying for credit will submit a 2000-2500 word written assignment one week after the course finishes.


Each course is assessed by two online assessments (‘e-tivities’*) comprising of 30%, the remaining 70% is formed of a 2,500 word essay.  The e-tivities provide formative and summative feedback to students as a means of monitoring their progress and encouraging areas in which they can improve. E-tivities will vary in format but will include article reviews, quizzes, blog posts, essay plans and more. On successful completion of the assessments, students will receive a
transcript confirming the credit awarded. Students that do not require credit are strongly
encouraged to take part in the e-tivities, but are not required to complete the assessments.

* An 'e-tivity' is a framework for online, active and interactive learning following a format that states clearly to the students its 'Purpose'; the 'Task' at hand; the contribution or 'Response' type; and the 'Outcome' (Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, New York and London: Routledge Falmer.)


Students will require regular access to a computer with a good internet connection, and the following applications installed:

  • A word processor that accepts Microsoft Word formats (.doc and .docx)
  • A PDF reader

Navigating Time Zones

Courses have been designed with varying time zones in mind.  All lectures will be recorded for access at any time and the discussion forum is open to posts from students at all times.  The limited 'live' sessions will be scheduled between 13:00 - 15:00 BST and will be recorded for any students unable to attend.


Students that successfully complete all course assessments will be awarded 15 SOAS credits.  This is normally equivalent to 7.5 ECTS or 4 US credits.  If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees


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

10% discount if you apply for two courses over 6 weeks

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

20% discount for our partner institutions

Other discounts are available for groups. Please contact us for more information.


For more information, please see our accommodation page.

Academic Summer School Ambassador Scholarship 2020

The SOAS Academic Summer School is delighted to offer six 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: 2020-03-13 00:00

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


How to Apply

Apply now to secure your place.

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 course within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Application Deadline

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. Apply now to secure your place.

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