Dr. B. Blakely Brooks

(PhD, University of Alabama)
Office: 223 Flanagan Building
Telephone: 252-328-9433

About Me

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 have a wonderful wife and two chihuahuas that I spend my free time with. I am an avid gardener and love to cultivate vegetables at my garden plot here in Greenville in the Making Pit Fit Community Garden.


Department News

 Dr, Bailey's article, "A New Online Strategy in Teaching Racial and Ethnic Health and Health Disparities to Public Health Professionals" was accepted by the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. It will appear in the 2016 issue of the Journal.

Excavations in the Western Negev Highlands: Results of the Negev Emergency Survey 1978-89  by Dr. Benjamin Saidel and co-author M. Haimon was published December 2014 by British Archaeological Reports. See here for more.


Haley Drabek translated the Tyrrell Water Management Study finalized in 2014 into 9 separate brochures, one for each proposed water management district. She spent six weeks visiting property owners in each district to explain the benefits of participating in the localized water management district and asking for signatures of intent to join.

Anna Claire researched existing oral history booklets at the Tyrrell Visitor Center and then interviewed elderly Tyrrell County residents who grew up in the county. She taped these interviews for safe keeping at the Visitor Center and is currently writing narrative reports of the collected information, one for each conversation partner. These reports will be bound and held at the Tyrrell County Visitor Center for interested readers. Anna Claire has also been involved with a group of children in the county with a diverse ethnic background. Under Anna Claire's direction the children are currently writing a newsletter that will report on the children's experiences of growing up in Tyrrell County, exploring their favorite places, activities, and hopes for their future.  

 Click here to see Anthropology's latest Newsletter

East Carolina ranks number one for the second consecutive year as the provider of graduate degrees for the Register of Professional Archaeologists registrants! Read more here

 Dr. Holly Mathews and Dr. Laura Mazow were recognized for their outstanding teaching methods by students during the Spring 2015 semester from the College STAR.

Student response for Dr. Mathews:

"She gives feedback and forces her students to expand their mind and explore alternate theories or explanations. She wants her students to discuss topics in class instead of just listening to her talk the entire time."

Student response for Dr. Mazow:

"We have a small class which allows many opportunities for a lot of class discussion...She always provides feedback and answers to our journal entries and is always available when we need help." 

Congratulations to them both!

This summer two undergraduate anthropology students at East Carolina University, Tyler Beasley and Anna Lawrence, worked as interns for the Hyde County Office of Planning and Economic Development through the State Employees' Credit Union Foundation public service internship program. Both interns worked on research projects aimed at improving economic development by better understanding the needs of the local business community.


Marina Clough, also an undergraduate anthropology student at East Carolina University, completed an internship at Wanchese Industrial Park and provided an overview of webpages and print media that write or advertise about sailing related events, helped plan the Regatta of Sail NC and conducted 40 interviews with participants.

Dr. Charles Ewen interviewed for the New York Times. Is it the Roanoke Island Colony? Read more to find out!