Robert G. McKee, PhD

Robert McKee

Contact Info

Phone: (972) 708-7400 ext. 2138
Office: Mahler 17

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Curriculum Vitae


University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
1995, Ph.D. Anthropology
Dissertation title: “Meje-Mangbetu (northeastern Zaire) death compensations as intergroup rites of passage: a structural, cultural, and linguistic study”

1985, M.A. Anthropology

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
1975, A.B. Social Relations

Professional Experience

Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas, Texas
Dallas, TX 2010 – present

Assistant Professor (2010-2015)

Senior Faculty (2015-present)

Courses taught

AA4370 Cultural Anthropology
AA5340 Ethnographic Research Methods
AA5372 Social & Political Organization
AA5373 Religion & Worldview
AA5375 Culture Change & Minority Cultures
AA5377 Area Studies

SIL International, Dallas, TX 1976 – present

• 1980–2006 Member of SIL’s Eastern Congo Group (& its predecessors)
• 1980 Sociolinguistic survey with SIL in Togo, April-August 1980
• 1980–83 & 1985–89 Linguist-translator with SIL in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Mangbetu language project, including work in phonology, orthography development, grammar, New Testament translation (selections booklets), literacy, & anthropology, for about six years
• 1988 Staff for SIL’s Africa Orientation Course, January-March 1988
• 1996–ca. 2002 Africa Area anthropology consultant for SIL, including a consulting job for the International Mission Board’s Amhara team in Ethiopia in 1999
• 2000–02 & 2008–10 International anthropology consultant for SIL
• 2012-16 Senior anthropology consultant for SIL
• Instructor, Grammar I, Dallas, spring 1976
• Instructor, Field Methods, Washington, summer 1985
• Anthropology lectures for SIL’s Kenya Safari (eastern Africa orientation course), 1995 & 1998 sessions
• Matrilineal systems workshop for SIL’s Mozambique Branch, May 1999
• Teaching staff for the Luke Partnership translator training at Arua, Uganda, & Isiro, DR Congo, 2003 & 2004 workshops

University of Rochester
• T.A., Human Nature: The Anthropological Perspective—fall 1984
• Instructor, Introduction to Anthropology—summer 1985

Houghton College, Houghton, New York
• Guest lecturer, introductory course in cultural anthropology (spring 1991, 1992; also assisted with course design)

Shalom University, Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo
• Guest faculty, introductory course in social & cultural anthropology (October-November 2008)

• Democratic Republic of Congo (see above under ‘SIL International’)



2017 Film-maker ventriloquism in ethnographic film: Where subtitles don’t let subjects “speak for themselves”. GIALens 11:1.

2013 Lynchings in modern Kenya and inequitable access to basic resources: A human rights scandal and a contributing cause. GIAL Special Electronic Publications.

2012 Missiology, the witch and the idol: “Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength,” or, The garden limit on humanity’s creative license. GIALens 6:2.

2010. Mangbetu tales of Leopard and Azapane: trickster as resistance hero. GIALens 4:3.

2009. Storytelling for peace-building: toward sustainable cultural diversity. GIALens 3:1.

2007. The Meegye connective BHE as a discourse developmental marker. GIALens 1:2.

2007. Concerning Meegye and Mangbetu’s bilabial trills. In Doris L. Payne and Mechthild Reh (eds.),Advances in Nilo-Saharan Linguistics: Proceedings of the 8th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium, University of Hamburg, August 22–25, 2001,181–189. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.

2000. ‘My mother gave birth to me, she didn’t divulge my name’: A Meegye-Mangbetu representation of patrilineal, matrilateral, and affinal relations in the Tabhuazolya tale. Notes on Anthropology 4(1):31–43 [SIL].

2000. “Samenesses”: A key to positive relationships and effective commu­nication. Ethno-info 46:2–5, March [SIL].

1991. The interpretation of consonants with semi-vowel release in Meje (Zaire) stems. In Rottland, Franz, and Lucia N. Omondi (eds.), Proceedings of the Third Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium, Kisumu, Kenya, August 4-9, 1986, 181–195. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag.

1991. ‘Here’, ‘there’, ‘yonder’ and beyond with Meje aspect. In Rottland, Franz, and Lucia N. Omondi (eds.), Proceedings of the Third Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium, Kisumu, Kenya, August 4-9, 1986, 165–180. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag.

Papers Presented

2015. An ongoing look at lynchings in Kenya: Contemporary anthropology, contemporary Christianity, and their need for each other. Paper read at the annual conference of the Evangelical Missiological Society, Dallas, 18-20 September 2015.

2014. Witchcraft-related lynchings among too many other kinds in Kenya: Via media reports and from a Christian concern for human rights. Roundtable contribution presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, Indianapolis, 20-23 November 2014.

2014. Destination: Christian anthropology. Paper read at the 74th annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A., 18-22 March 2014.

2013. Lynchings in modern Kenya and inequitable access to basic resources: A human rights scandal and a contributing cause. Paper read at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Denver, 19-23 March 2013.

2007. Data illustrating case in Mangbetu? Paper read at the 10th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium, FIAP Jean Monnet, Paris, France, 22–24 August 2007.

2006. Transcending postcolonial stereotypes through filmed dilemma tales?: in which the subtitles do let film subjects ‘speak for themselves’. Paper read at the intercongress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, 03–07 December 2006.

2005. Mangbetu tales of Leopard and Azapane: trickster as resistance hero. Paper read at the International Conference on Storytelling and Cultural Identity, Terceira, Azores, Portugal, 27–29 June 2005.

1998. Genesis prologue myth and Judeo-Christian knowledge. Paper read at the 14th Inter­national Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.A., 26 July–01 August 1998.

1985. Cannibalism as ideological prop: the Mangbetu case. Paper read at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Anthropological Association, Lake Placid, New York, U.S.A., ca. March 1985


2002 Mangbetu orthography statement, first revision. Manuscript, SIL–Eastern Congo Group, 19 December 2002.

Publications assisted

1987. Abuotubodio, Abule, and Nzila Ongasa. Amehya Nemangbetu: Premier livre de lecture mangbetu (pour lettrés). With Robert McKee. Egbita, Zaire: Projet de traduction biblique en dialectes Mangbetu.

Professional Societies

• American Anthropological Association (past)
• International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (past)
• Society for Applied Anthropology
• Evangelical Missiological Society

Language proficiencies

• French—reading, moderate speaking, minimal writing
• German—minimal reading
• Lingala (DR Congo)—minimal reading and speaking
• Mangbetu (DR Congo, Meegye dialect)—analytical, moderate reading, minimal speaking

Areas of special interest

• Sub-Saharan Africa
• Death ritual and compensations
• Mangbetu studies
• Myth & tale analysis
• Storytelling for peace-building
• Use (& abuse) of subtitles in ethnographic film
• Christian anthropology
• Lynchings in Kenya & internationally