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Essays by Brett Evans '13 appear on Huffington Post, various listservs

A Lumen Scholar who researched elements of the Jain religion, Evans wrote the columns with the goal of contributing to public scholarship.

Brett Evans '13  in front of a statue of Mahavira, one of the early leaders of Jainism, in India in 2011.

Commentary by one of the Elon University’s top scholars in the Class of 2013 has been featured in recent weeks on the popular Huffington Post website and listservs for thousands of people with interest in the nonviolent religion of Jainism.

Brett Evans, a religious studies major and recipient of the university’s Lumen Prize, published two essays connected with his undergraduate research on Jainism and animal ethics.

Jainism is estimated to be more than 2,500 years old, with approximately 4.2 million followers, many of whom live in the state of Gujarat in northwestern India. Jainism has similarities to Buddhism and Hinduism but is considered a separate religion that has influenced the others.

“Animal Rights and Plant Based Diets: Short-Lived Fad or Longstanding Tradition?” appeared July 29 on a Huffington Post blog dedicated to religion and Jainism. In it, Evans argues that Jain traditions “can serve as one source of this historical support” for ethical movements related to the violent treatment of animals used in food production.

“A Perspective on Panjrapoles was Evans’s reflection of the animal sanctuaries he encountered in India where animals, especially cows, were abandoned after being deemed “useless” for milk production or even reproductive purposes. The column was distributed on several listservs with a total reach of more than 23,000 email recipients.

Both essays were envisioned as the public scholarship piece of the project, where Evans would disseminate his findings with members of the Jain community and the wider public.

Evans graduated magna cum laude in May. His research on socially engaged Jainism also was published in three peer-reviewed journals. He is currently employed as the manager of Elon's Loy Farm and Community Garden and a teaching assistant for a food and nutrition course taught as part of Elon Academy, a college access program for underprivileged high school students.

Evans was mentored by Assistant Professor Amy Allocco in the Department of Religious Studies.

Eric Townsend,
8/8/2013 9:10 AM