MSU research featured in new PBS documentary series ‘Mysteries of Mental Illness’

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Research by undergraduate students and faculty in Mississippi State’s Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures is being featured this month in an episode of the new PBS series “Mysteries of Mental Illness.”

The four-hour documentary series, premiering June 22 at 8 p.m. CT, traces the evolution of mental illness in science and society, giving voice to contemporary Americans across a spectrum of experiences.

Molly Zuckerman, MSU AMEC associate professor and graduate coordinator, said segments of the series’ second episode were filmed on the Starkville campus in spring 2020. The segments feature two undergraduate students and Zuckerman who, as part of the Asylum Hill Research Consortium, are conducting research on patients who died at the Mississippi State Asylum.

The asylum operated from 1855-1935. In 2012, graves were discovered on the only remaining undeveloped part of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s main campus in Jackson. Following the discovery, the Asylum Hill Research Consortium was formed, bringing together a diverse group of scholars and community members to study and preserve remains exhumed from the asylum cemetery.

For more on the “Mysteries of Mental Illness” series, visit

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