Brett Evans ’13 receives undergraduate paper award

Brett Evans ‘13 was recently awarded ASIANetwork’s Marianna McJimsey Award, which recognizes the best undergraduate paper focused on Asia.

Evans will receive a cash prize and financial support to attend ASIANetwork’s Annual Meeting to receive the award in person. His paper will also be published in the spring 2013 edition of the peer-reviewed journal ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts.

ASIANetwork, a consortium of more than 150 North American colleges, “strives to strengthen the role of Asian Studies within the framework of liberal arts education to help prepare succeeding generations of undergraduates for a world in which Asian societies play prominent roles in an ever more interdependent world.” The annual prize honors the service of Marianna McJimsey, the first executive director of ASIANetwork and the first editor of ASIANetwork Exchange.

The paper, “Ideologies of the Shri Meenakshi Goushala: Hindu and Jain Motivations for a Madurai Cow Home,” focuses on a cow home, or goshala, which is jointly run by Hindus and Jains in the South Indian city of Madurai. It analyzes the commitments underlying the establishment of this sanctuary and highlights the divergent visions of the goshala’s purpose and future that were articulated by the institution’s Hindu and Jain members.

Evans has studied abroad for a semester in Madurai, where he lived with a Jain family and carried out research on contemporary Jain practices related to nonviolence. A Lumen Scholar and an Elon College Fellow who is majoring in religious studies, Evans has been researching the Jain religion for the past two years under the direction of his mentor, Assistant Professor Amy L. Allocco in the Department of Religious Studies.

He began his project by interviewing first- and second-generation members of the Jain community in Raleigh, N.C., about animal ethics and followed this fieldwork with more than six months of ethnographic research in India focused on this tradition’s commitment to nonviolence.