Dr. B. Blakely Brooks
(PhD, University of Alabama)
Office: 223 Flanagan Building
I am a cultural anthropologist in the department of Anthropology with a specialization in biocultural medical anthropology. I received an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in medical anthropology.
My academic and research interests include cognitive anthropological theory and methods, social stress, especially among Andean highland farmers, Peruvian Andean culture, cultural syndromes including susto and chucaque, disease and illness, Andean farming practices, and social differences in exposure to social stressors and cultural syndrome rates. I use a biocultural approach that integrates qualitative and quantitative methods to gain a greater understanding of the relationships between stress and illness in Peruvian highland communities. Cultural consensus analysis and cultural consonance are two methodological and theoretical tools that I employ in my studies of stress and Andean health.
I have conducted research in remote highland communities near Huaraz, Peru among Andean farmers who have suffered from the illnesses of susto and chucaque. Specifically, I investigated the cultural models of social role expectations and the illness of sustoamong poor highland farmers who may or may not have received treatment for their illness. The effects of social roles stress were explored by comparing competence in the model with cultural expectations associated with the social role of being an Andean highland farmer. Variations in knowledge of this model were also correlated with physical wellbeing as measured by a general health questionnaire and a biomedical perceived stress scale in order to assess the biological consequences of cultural knowledge. My research is concerned with what Andean farmers suffering from susto and those farmers who do not have susto perceive as stressful. It also aims to identify the biological consequences of the economic marginality Andean farmers face in Peruvian society.
I received support for this research in Peru from the Capstone International Program and the University of Alabama. I have presented results from this research at the Society for Applied Anthropology and American Anthropological Association annual meetings.
I am currently planning the next phase of my research, which will focus on explaining the ways that social stress processes are related to cultural knowledge and can result in biological consequences by placing individuals into different categories of risk for the development of cultural syndromes. I also plan to extend this research to susto sufferers from Latin America that now live in the Southeastern United States.
I teach in the anthropology department and the global understanding program at ECU. I am passionate about promoting global cultural diversity here in the coastal Carolina region.
I am an avid gardener and love to cultivate vegetables at my garden plot here in Greenville in the Making Pit Fit Community Garden.