FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 4, 2012
Dr. Chad Stebbins
JOPLIN, MO (SNS) – The best thing to do with a ghost is to keep it happy!
In a Thailand semester event, Dr. Conrad Gubera, professor of Sociology at Missouri Southern State University will present “Keeping Ghosts Happy: The Thai Spirit Houses at 12 noon on Wednesday, Sept. 12 in Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall.
The presentation is free and open to the public.
If you ever visit Thailand, you will notice the tiny spirit houses near homes and businesses. Made of wood, concrete, or brick, the spirit houses may resemble an oriental bird house or a miniature model of a Thai temple. The houses provide shelter for any wandering spirits, discourage them from causing mischief, and bring protection and good fortune to the residence. Offerings are usually given in the form of food, drink, flowers, or incense while a short prayer is recited. Although 95 percent of Thais are Buddhists, the practice of the spirit house is not directly connected to the religion. Rather, it's a belief in animism – that natural objects possess souls.
Dr. Conrad Gubera is a professor of sociology and international studies at Missouri Southern State University. He was named the university's Outstanding International Education Teacher in 2006 and the Outstanding Teacher in 1996. He teaches courses in sociology and anthropology, secondary social science education, and international studies.
Dr. Gubera has been a faculty leader of 10 different student study abroad groups at MSSU, mostly recently teaching "The Sociology of Death and Dying" in London. Prior to that, he led groups to the lower Yucatan area of Mexico for a study of ancient Mayan sites.
During the past 25 years Dr. Gubera has engaged in extensive travel, visiting 31 countries. Most of his international travel has been the complement of being a fellow with the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii and the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, three separate Fulbright Awards, a Japan Foundation Award, and faculty grants through MSSU's Institute of International Studies.