billingsley photo

Dr. Doc McAlister Billingsley, PhD

Assistant Professor
History and Anthropology
Office: Art Building 105

Ph.D. in Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis 
M.A. in Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis 
B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology, Millsaps College

Professor Billingsley’s current research focuses on language revitalization, indigenous social movements, and the politics of historical memory in Guatemala. He has worked closely with several influential Maya organizations as an engaged anthropologist, participating in the processes of producing knowledge from indigenous perspectives. His research and teaching contribute to scholarship on transitional justice, indigenous rights, and collective memory. He enjoys challenging his students to undertake independent research and to work toward understanding and safeguarding human diversity.

Professor Billingsley is interested in the broader sociocultural effects of immigration and new communication technologies: how does this increasing interconnection affect our personal and communal identities? What are the effects for higher education and epistemic authority? His research as a whole is aimed at understanding the nature of knowledge in the contemporary era, as ever greater numbers of people are connected through online communications, transnational economics, and international laws. Dr. Billingsley is interested in the possibilities for reimagining anthropology in an increasingly urban, youthful, and interconnected world.

Professor Billingsley’s past experiences included studying public health and family planning in Thailand, historical archaeology in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and participating in large-scale archaeological projects in Hungary and Yucatán, Mexico. His research has been supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, including a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad grant and a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship; the Wenner-Gren Foundation, including a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant and an Engaged Anthropology Grant; and a Freeman Foundation Award for Study in Asia. He encourages students to embrace opportunities to study abroad and experience firsthand what it’s like to live in another country.

2016 “Memory.” Co-authored with James V. Wertsch. International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, published by Wiley-Blackwell. 
2011 “The Role of Narratives in Commemoration: Remembering as Mediated Action” Co-authored with James V. Wertsch. Published in: Cultures and Globalization volume 4: Heritage, Memory, Identity. Anheier, H. and Isar, R., eds. Pp. 25-38. London: Sage Publications.

Academic interests: 
• Four-field Anthropology 
• Latin American Studies 
• Memory Studies 
• collaborative & engaged research methods 
• indigenous movements 
• language revitalization

Personal interests: 
• Biking 
• Scifi & Fantasy literature 
• Tabletop gaming 
• Cooking 
• Cats

Courses Taught

AN 101 Observing Other Cultures 
AN 181 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 
AN 315 Medical Anthropology and Public Health
AN 317 Ethnographic Field Methods
AN 355 Shamans, Cyborgs, and the Limits of Human Nature
AN 355 Anthropology of Human Sexuality
AN 360 Mesoamerican Civilizations 
AN 375 Anthropology of Religion


Fax: 573.651.2146
Carnahan Hall 311

Department of History
One University Plaza, MS 4150
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701