Blakely Brooks ’05 returns to Centre as a faculty member
The start of a new academic year brings many new faces to Centre’s campus: new students, staff and faculty. Blakely Brooks comes to Centre in a new role as visiting assistant professor of anthropology, but as a 2005 graduate of Centre he is a familiar and welcome face.
“It is a surreal experience to be coming back to Centre College as a faculty member,” Brooks says. “As a junior at Centre I decided to pursue a career in anthropology with the dream that someday I would return as a faculty member. The dream is now a reality and I’m both honored and elated.”
And there have been a lot of changes on campus since Brooks’ graduation.
“The most obvious changes have been the replacement of Cowan Dining Commons with the Campus Center and the addition of two new residence halls. When I walk across campus today I enjoy the new beauty that a growing campus brings.”
After Centre, Brooks completed both the master’s and doctoral programs in biocultural medical anthropology at the University of Alabama. He received a Ph.D. in medical anthropology in the fall of 2011.
During the completion of his doctoral degree, Brooks worked as an adjunct instructor of anthropology at Mississippi State University and Bevill State Community College, teaching both online and traditional classes.
For the completion of his doctoral degree, Brooks conducted research in 2009 in remote highland communities near Huaraz, Peru, among Andean farmers who had suffered from the folk illness of susto, a cultural phenomenon that translates as “fright sickness,” which is considered to have psychological overtones.
“Specifically, I investigated the cultural models of social role expectations and susto among highland farmers who may or may not have received treatment for their illness,” Brooks says. “I explored the effects of social stress by comparing competence in the model with cultural expectations associated with the social role of being an Andean highland farmer. I wanted to determine what Andean farmers perceived as stressful.”
Brooks received support for this research in Peru from the Capstone International Program and the University of Alabama and has presented results from this research at the American Anthropological Association and Society for Applied Anthropology annual meetings.
“We’re exceptionally proud of Blakely’s accomplishments since graduating from Centre, and we’re excited to see him back for a while,” says Andre Nyerges, professor of anthropology. “His specialty in medical anthropology should be a great draw for students, given how important health care is in our society today. His research interests in how both medicine and disease vary among cultures worldwide is simply a classic concern of anthropology. He’s well-experienced in the classroom, and he’ll make a great contribution to what we teach.”
“I credit many of my professors at Centre in preparing the way for me to succeed in graduate school and in my professional life,” Brooks says. “The Centre experience prepares students to be open to new opportunities and to confidently meet the challenges that may lie ahead.”