Contact by email
- PhD, Biocultural Medical Anthropology, University of Alabama, 2014
Mary Rebecca Read-Wahidi received her PhD in biocultural medical anthropology from The University of Alabama in December 2014. She is currently an Assistant Research Professor 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 Finnegan.
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 conducted 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 of 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 her posts “Can Anything be a Ritual?” and “Expat or Immigrant?”). You can also read her recently published essay in the journal Medicine Anthropology Theory, entitled “A Narrow Lens: Seeing Beyond the Religious Symbol.”
Dr. Read-Wahidi grades online sections of REL 100.
Online Teaching Mentor
Beginning the Summer of 2018, Dr. Read-Wahidi has also served as REL’s online teaching mentor, a role that provides resources and orientation for new online instructors, especially those coming from our MA program (who, under her supervision, are eligible to teach one they have earned an online pedagogy certificate and successfully completed 18 credit hours in the discipline).