Dr. Wilson becomes Scripps Research Fellow

Scripps Center logoProfessor Liz Wilson, of the Department of Comparative Religion, has been appointed to a three-year term as a Research Fellow of the Scripps Gerontology Center. In a formal announcement, assistant provost Janet Cox explained that Dr. Wilson has received this appointment in recognition of her "significant contributions to Miami University's research, teaching, and public service in the field of aging."

Dr. Wilson is working on three projects related to religion and aging:

1. She is collaborating with Dr. Deborah Wiese, of Miami's psychology department, to research factors that promote the well-being of medical guest workers from South Asian countries, such as India, who provide eldercare in Japan. Dr. Wilson is particularly interested in examining how Hindu caregivers may connect cross-culturally with Japanese patients through healing modalities that are similar in South Asian and East Asian traditions (for example, reiki or chi gong).

2. She is researching the 21st-century legal history of the Jain rite of voluntary death by fasting (known as santhara). this is a timely topic, as the Indian Supreme Court is scheduled to review a ruling from this past summer that declared santhara inhumane and a violation of human rights, out of concern that elderly or indigent people are being coerced into starving themselves. Dr. Wilson is attempting to organize a conference panel to discuss the issue as a question in which arguments about human rights are pitted against arguments for religious freedom.

3. She is organizing opportunities for Miami students to shadow local hospice chaplains. In connection with that initiative, Dr. Wilson is learning about how hospice chaplains are trained to serve people who follow religious practices of Asian origins (including Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain).

Congratulations to Dr. Wilson on her appointment as Scripps Research Fellow!