The Waldensian Trail of Faith as a Folk Heterotopia

SARA J. BELL (Vance-Granville Community College)

The Trail of Faith in Valdese, North Carolina is an outdoor museum that recounts the story of the town’s Waldensian founders, who emigrated from Italy in the late nineteenth century. Through a series of small-scale replicas of the town’s original buildings and historic sites in their Alpine homeland, visitors retrace the journey taken by this reform sect of Christians, who were frequently uprooted as the result of persecution and exile but found a sense of belonging in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. As a structural timeline, the space represents a folk heterotopia that recontextualizes the community’s traumatic history by containing it; commemorating their reputation for piety, endurance, and industry; and offering in miniature a symbolic pilgrimage for devotion and reflection.

Part of 06-03 Folk Heterotopias [Hybrid], Friday, November 03, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm