Love Thy Neighbor
Victoria Price - This project involves research into disability and inclusion in religious and spiritual spaces, placing emphasis on how digital communication technologies can be used to more actively include members of communities that have historically been discriminated against or forgotten.
My research at the GTU has, up to this point, been largely based on ethnography and sociological theory. However, with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, my focus has shifted to include more practical aspects of Hindu Studies. The research I have done in the last year, which I will continue throughout my PhD, will assess disability and inclusion in virtual religious spaces—focusing on how Hindus in America have reacted to these issues. COVID-19 has shown a spotlight on how useful digital communication technologies can be in including disabled individuals into spaces they might not have access to offline. Additionally, the pandemic has made room for these technologies to be improved to be more accessible for differently-abled individuals who need specific accommodations to participate in online services. Seeing the positive impact that these technologies have had for disabled individuals in other non-religious aspects of life has driven me to incorporate Disability Studies into my own work at the Center for Dharma Studies. The GTU’s mission to nurture justice and peace through the education and work of its students will be fulfilled through my work in my PhD and beyond as I use my platform as an emerging scholar to advocate for inclusivity in religious spaces, both virtual and in-person.
Watch Victoria's interview below, and listen to the extended audio version here.