Mary Rebecca Read-Wahidi received her Ph.D. in Biocultural
from the University of Alabama in December 2014. She is currently
a Research Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Mississippi
State University's Social Science Research Center (Starkville,
MS). She is also a frequent Instructor for our REL
100 online course, Introduction to Religious Studies.
While a graduate student at UA, she served as a teaching assistant
for the Department of Religious Studies from 2012-2014, where
she worked with a number of our faculty, including Dr. Russell
McCutcheon, Dr. Steven Ramey, Dr. Steve Jacobs, and Dr. Eleanor
As a medical anthropologist, Mary is interested in how our
culture shapes our daily lives and, thus, our health, through
such thins as diet, work, social structures, and family life.
She specializes in Mexican culture, and has connducted fieldwork
among Mexican immigrants in Mississippi for several years.
Her dissertation, entitled "A Model Guadalupan: Devotion
to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Psychosocial Stress among mexican
Immigrants to the Southern United States," builds upon
this work. Her interests in Mexican immigrants in Mississippi
surrounds their celebration and devotion to the Virgin of
Guadalupe, which has become an icon of Mexican identity. She
has explored the ways in which members of this community rely
on their shared religious devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe
to help them cope with the stress og being an (often undocumented)
immigrant community living in the rural South.
Dr. Read-Wahidi currently resides in Kuwait where she is
studying Arabic and developing a secondary line of research
that will contribute to the cultural understanding of the
nation's high rates of obesity and diabetes.
Mary occasionally posts on our Department blog (read two
of her posts here
You can also read her recently published essay in the journal
Medicine Anthropology Theory, entitles "A
Narrow Lens: Seeing Beyond the Religious Symbol."