Benjamin B. Brooks, PhD

Teaching Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858, USA



• (2011) Doctorate of Philosophy, Anthropology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
• (2007) Master of Arts, Anthropology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
• (2005) Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology, Centre College, Danville, Kentucky


• (2013-Present) Teaching Assistant Professor of Anthropology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
• (2012-2013) Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Centre College, Danville, KY
• (2010-2012) Instructor of Anthropology, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
• (2010-2012) Instructor of Anthropology, Bevill State Community College, Carrollton, AL
• (2007) Instructor of Anthropology, Jefferson State Community College, Birmingham, AL
• (2005-2011) Teaching Assistant, Anthropology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

Research Interest

His 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. He 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 he employs in his studies of stress and Andean health.
He has conducted research in remote highland communities near Huaraz, Peru among Andean farmers who have suffered from the illnesses of susto and chucaque. Specifically, he investigated the cultural models of social role expectations and the illness of susto among 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. His 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.
He is currently planning the next phase of his 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. He also plan to extend this research to susto sufferers from Latin America that now live in the Southeastern United States.

Scientific Activities

His research focuses on the relationships between historical trauma, social stress, and mental health in Latin America; especially how these topics may be potential risk factors for the mental illnesses of chucaque and susto. His academic research interests include applied medical anthropology; global health; Andean gender roles; qualitative and quantitative anthropological research methods; biocultural anthropological theory; and Latin American culture.
For the next phase of his research program, he plan to develop a biocultural research project focused on mental illness and biological and cultural risk factors for negative health outcomes among Hispanic immigrants. His research agenda focusing on gender, mental health and the biological effects of social stress among Hispanic populations in the United States would be extended to include the measurement of a stress biomarker (Epstein-Barr virus levels) and social stress among Hispanic populations.



1. Brooks BB. Chucaque and Social Stress among Peruvian Highlanders. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. 2014; 28(3): 419-439. doi:10.1111/maq.12068
2. Brooks BB. Using cultural domain analysis to examine andean social roles. Anthropol Open J. 2016; 1(1): 11-14. doi:10.17140/ANTPOJ-1-103


1. Brooks BB. The Andean Cultural Model of Susto: Cultural Consonance and Historical Trauma in the Andes. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, The University of Alabama, 2011.
2. Brooks BB. Using a social stress gauge to study chocake and social stress among participants of the Callejón de Huaylas Valley, Peru: a case-control study. MA. Thesis, Department of Anthropology, The University of Alabama, 2007.


1. Brooks BB.Cultural Syndromes in Latin America: Mal de Ojo, Nervios, and Susto. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology. In: Wenzel A, ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. (in press)