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Abstract

Does religious ritual transform political identities? Political identities often rise out of culture; and cultures in turn are shaped by the countless manifestations of religious ritual. It should come as no surprise that this triangle of ritual, culture, and power is used as a tool for the construction of the homogeneous political identities upon which nation states are created. The case study of the religious cult center of Notre-Dame de Cambron, a 14th century pilgrimage shrine in Belgium a few miles from the French border, provides one example of this triangularity. In the midst of its bicultural region, Cambron's shrine illustrates how religious ritual homogenizes diverse cultures and transforms political identities in borderlands.