Missouri State University
Sociology and Anthropology Blog

Presentation on Marcus Garvey Thursday

Professor Robert Hill from the Department of History at UCLA will give a guest lecture Thursday February 26 at 4:00 pm in the Meyer Library auditorium room 101. The title of his presentation is “Marcus Garvey and the Fallen Angel,” concerning the influence of Jamaican folk religion on the ideas and practices of the UNIA or United Negro Improvement Association, a mass African American movement of the 1920s. Professor Hill is the curator of the Marcus Garvey papers at UCLA and the author or editor of 24 books on Garvey and African American history. This event is sponsored by the departments of sociology and anthropology, history, philosophy, religious studies, political science, and English.

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Anthropology Students Help Develop Trail of Tears Brochure

Click Here to See Trail of Tears Brochure!

Over the past summer, Jen Rideout and I [Sarah O’Donnell] have developed interpretive materials concerning the Trail of Tears in Missouri. The first phase of this project involved creating the informational brochure, shown here, about the Benge Route of the Trail. Many segments of this route are still preserved within the Mark Twain National Forest and have been surveyed by archaeologists. The brochure covers the historic background of the Trail of Tears, the detachment of Cherokee who traveled the Benge Route specifically, and recent survey work done on the Route. The second phase of this project is nearly complete, and involves creating an inventory of all Trail of Tears interpretive materials found in the state of Missouri. This will help the Mark Twain National Forest and other agencies dialogue with each other and inform the public about the Train of Tears in Missouri. To date, interpretive materials have been inventoried in 28 counties in Missouri. The overall project goal is to increase education, appreciation, and stewardship of the Trail of Tears in Missouri. The Mark Twain National Forest Heritage Program of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture is cooperating with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Missouri State University to accomplish archaeological projects related to compliance with Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The goal of the Heritage Program is to protect significant cultural resources and share their values with the American people

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Anthropology Alum Shares Experiences with CDC

burkybile blog and facebook, 1_30_15On January 29, 2015, Frank Burkybile, a 2008 anthropology program graduate, discussed his work as a Public Health Analyst with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and internship and employment opportunities with the CDC. The presentation was held in Strong Hall through the college of humanities and public affairs.

After graduation, Frank was an AmeriCorps member and worked for few years toward HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa, before returning stateside to earn his Master’s degree in Public Health. Upon graduation he landed a position with the CDC, and is currently working with PEPFAR (The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), a government funded agency that works with many countries to provide education and treatment for HIV/AIDS. He also works with the World Health Organization and UNAIDS, two agencies with a 70 million dollar budget, which help both the CDC and PEPFAR work more closely with several countries.

The value of an anthropologist’s work with agencies like those mentioned here, has been proven over and over– and more recently during the Ebola outbreak, when the burial rituals and practices of the affected countries, which can be very different from the rituals and practices in the United States and other countries, were disrupted so that the bodies of their loved ones could be properly disposed of to help prevent further spread of the virus.  Anthropologists become the interpretive link between cultures and the agencies that that provide aid.

If you are interested in a career in anthropology, you might consider looking for a position as a health/behavioral scientist, epidemiologist, gender expert, or a position in management operations at the CDC other organizations like the CDC! Contact a faculty member in the department to discuss your options or to find a way to discuss your ideas with alum like Frank Burkybile. Thanks for sharing with us Mr. Burkybile!

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Presentation on Careers with the Centers for Disease Control

Missouri State Anthropology alumnus Frank Burkybile (2008) will discuss his work as a Public Health Analyst with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which has taken him to Botswana and Nigeria. He will also discuss internship and employment opportunities with the CDC. This presentation will be in Strong Hall 302 at 3:30 on Thursday January 29. Everyone is invited.

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Images from Ferguson: Initial Thoughts and Perspectives

Glenda Harrison teaches sociology at Missouri State University. In this blog, she shares about her experiences traveling to Ferguson, Missouri to talk with people in the area about the shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent protests.


Several years ago I read a book by Jonathan Kozol titled “Savage Inequalities” which highlighted the weakened infrastructure of the inner urban cities. In his book, Kozol traveled across the United States studying various schools located in urban areas; comparing the social structure of inner cities to those in middle and upper class regions. Due to my proximity to East St. Louis, Illinois, I decided to focus on the decline of that area. I extended my analysis to Ferguson, Missouri with the protests that erupted from the shooting of Michael Brown in the summer of 2014.


In my first visit to Ferguson, two weeks after the shooting, I was struck by the overwhelming ‘hope’ of the residents and their appreciation of support. I stood with the protesters across from the police station, discussing the chain of events related to Michael Brown, his family and the community. Protester signs stated things like, ‘Hands up-don’t shoot’ as cars went by honking their horns in support. People brought water, ice and food for the protesters creating a positive community feeling. There were many groups of people coming from all over the United States displaying community spirit. These protesters desired a non-violent protest but also expressed concern outsiders were stirring up many of the younger African-Americans in the community.

I also talked to a number of protesters and community leaders in the area. Michael Brown’s cousin talked to me for instance. One of the things that he wanted to know is why the officer shot Michael six times when Michael Brown did not have a weapon. Other people I talked to also questioned the officer’s actions.

The Missouri State Senator from District 14, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, was present at one of the protests. She was advocating for reform and bringing racial issues to the forefront of the discussion about the shooting. One area of concern expressed by the Senator was the lack of African-American voter registrations in the district. We also discussed the lack of minority’s representation in the political, administrative and law enforcement areas within the city.


While most people have been focusing on the race issues associated with the Michael Brown shooting, I have been examining the larger context of urban decline in places like East St. Louis and Ferguson. I plan to continue my visits to the area. I hope to provide a larger context for understanding the events that led to the shooting in Ferguson and how we may use this information to improve similar urban places.

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