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UTHC Videos

The Humanities Center works with visiting speakers and with our own affiliated departments to promote humanities work by providing free video recordings of our lectures and humanities events.

Click on the links below to access the videos. You can also access videos through the Visiting Scholars Lectures page at this website. Visit our YouTube channel for more videos!

Michael Witmore
Director, Folger Shakespeare Library

Vinton Cerf
Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google

“Machine Reading in the Digital Age”
September 12, 2019, Student Union Auditorium - Room 180

Vinton G. Cerf is vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google. He is the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet and has served in executive positions at ICANN, the Internet Society, MCI, the Corporation for National Research Initiatives and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He is the past President of the Association for Computing Machinery, served as a member of the National Science Board, and is a recipient of numerous awards, including 29 honorary degrees, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, US National Medal of Technology, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, the Prince of Asturias Award, the Tunisian National Medal of Science, the Japan Prize, the Charles Stark Draper award, the ACM Turing Award, the Legion d’Honneur, the Franklin Medal, Foreign Member of the British Royal Society and Swedish Academy of Engineering.

Michael Witmore was appointed the 7th director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC in 2011. He was formerly professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The recipient of numerous fellowships, he has held an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the UCLA, a research fellowship and a curatorial residency fellowship at the Folger, and a predoctoral fellowship at the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte in Berlin. He was awarded an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship, and his publications include numerous articles, website resources, book chapters, and five books: Landscapes of the Passing Strange: Reflections from Shakespeare, with Rosamond Purcell (2010), Shakespearean Metaphysics (2009), Pretty Creatures: Children and Fiction in the English Renaissance (2007), Childhood and Children’s Books in Early Modern Europe, 1550-1800 (2006), and Culture of Accidents: Unexpected Knowledge in Early Modern England (2001).

Elizabeth Catte

7th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Elizabeth Catte
Historian and writer

“What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia”
September 5, 2018, Lindsay Young Auditorium – UT Hodges Library

Elizabeth Catte, author of the book What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia, takes a critical look at popular current portrayals of Appalachia, one of the country’s most controversial regions. Catte will discuss the genealogy of “Appalachian interpreters” and how region's realities complicate many of our most enduring stereotypes.

Elizabeth Catte

7th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Deborah Wong
Professor of Music
University of California, Riverside

“Change is Coming: Asian American Arts Activism and Engaged Ethnomusicology”
October 15, 2018, Lindsay Young Auditorium – UT Hodges Library

Deborah Wong is an ethnomusicologist and Professor of Music at the University of California, Riverside. She specializes in the musics of Asian America and Thailand and has written two books, Speak It Louder: Asian Americans Making Music and Sounding the Center: History and Aesthetics in Thai Buddhist Ritual. Her book Faster and Louder: Pain, Joy, Taiko, and the Body Politic in Asian American California is under contract with the University of California Press.

Deborah Wong

7th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Kimberly Bowes
Professor of Classical Studies
University of Pennsylvania

“The Roman 90%: The Rural Poor in the Roman World”
October 25, 2018, Lindsay Young Auditorium – UT Hodges Library

Kimberly Bowes is an associate professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is an archaeologist, specializing in the archaeology of late antique religions, domestic architecture, and Roman economics. Author of four books and numerous articles, she has just completed a major field project on Roman poverty in Tuscany, sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Christopher Newfield
Professor of Literature and American Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

“What Do Universities Do? Bringing College and Society Back Together”
February 28, 2019, Room 101 Strong Hall

Christopher Newfield is professor of literature and American studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research concerns contemporary literature studies and Critical University studies, which links humanities teaching to the study of how higher education is re-shaped by industry and other economic forces. Professor Newfield's books include The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them (2016), Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class  (2008), and Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980 (2003). He blogs on higher education policy and writes for the Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Anita Allen
Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy
University of Pennsylvania

“Privacy and Ethics in the Digital Age”
Monday, March 11, 2019, Lindsay Young Auditorium – UT Hodges Library

Anita L. Allen is Vice Provost for Faculty and the Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. She is an expert on privacy and data protection law and ethics. Allen served under President Obama as a member of his National Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, served on the IRB of the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington D.C. and appeared on numerous television and radio programs. Allen is co-author of Privacy Law and Society (2016) and author of Unpopular Privacy: What Must We Hide (2011); The New Ethics: A Guided Tour of the 21st Century Moral Landscape (2004), and Why Privacy Isn’t Everything (2003).

Steven Stoll
Professor of History
Fordham University

“The Ordeal of Appalachia”
Tuesday, March 26, 2019, Student Union Room 169

Steven Stoll is professor of history at Fordham University in New York City. He teaches environmental history and the history of capitalism.  His recent book is Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia (New York:FSG/Hill & Wang, 2017).

Jane Elliott
Reader in Contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory
Department of English
King's College London

Title:  "The Horror of Choice” (audio only)
Monday, April 8 2019, Lindsay Young Auditorium – UT Hodges Library

Jane Elliott is Reader in Contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory at King’s College London. Her publications include The Microeconomic Mode: Political Subjectivity in Contemporary Popular Aesthetics (2018), the edited collection Theory after ‘Theory’ (2011) and Popular Feminist Fiction as American Allegory: Representing National Time (2008).

Amy Greenberg
Professor of History and Women’s Studies
Pennsylvania State University

Title:  "War for Empire: The 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico”
Thursday, April 11, 2019, Lindsay Young Auditorium – UT Hodges Library

Amy S. Greenberg is George Winfree Professor of American History and Women's Studies at Penn State University. The recipient of fellowships from the NEH, Guggenheim Foundation, and American Philosophical Society, she is the author of five books about nineteenth-century America, including Lady First: The World of First Lady Sarah Polk (2019), the award-winning A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico (2012), and Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire (2005).  

Tracy K. Smith
Poet Laureate of the United States

Title: “An Evening with Tracy K. Smith” 
Thursday, April 11, 2019, Room 101 Strong Hall  

In 2017, Tracy K. Smith was appointed the 22nd United States Poet Laureate. She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Ordinary Light (Knopf, 2015) and four books of poetry, including her most recent Wade in the Water (Graywolf, 2018). Her collection Life on Mars won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. Duende won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Essence Literary Award. Smith was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers Award in 2004 and a Whiting Award in 2005. In 2014 the Academy of American Poets awarded Smith with the Academy Fellowship, awarded to one poet each year to recognize distinguished poetic achievement. She is the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor in the Humanities, and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.

6th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series
"Dialogues: Region and Nation" mini-series

J.D. Vance
New York Times best-selling author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
"Hillbilly Elegy: A Family and Culture in Crisis"
April 30, 2018, Cox Auditorium, Alumni Memorial Building, University of Tennessee

New York Times bestselling author and public commentator J.D. Vance speaks about his memoir and about Appalachian culture today.
J.D. Vance

6th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Dr. David Potter
Ronald W. Mellor Professor of Roman History
The University of California, Los Angeles
“The Empress Theodora and the Management of Empire”
March 26, 2018, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

How did a former actress, single mother, and spy take charge of a powerful empire? Loathed or loved, empress Theodora (r. 527-548), wife of the Late Roman Emperor Justinian I (r. 527-565), knew how to rule. Though legend traces her power either to demonic possession or to divine inspiration, the actual sources of her authority were more mundane. This lecture explores how Theodora constructed her authority and became one of the most memorable women of all time.
Dr. David Potter

6th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series
Dialogues: Region and Nation" mini-series

“Rumble: Natives and American Music”
February 28, 2018, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee
Joy Harjo, Professor of English and John C. Hodges Chair of Excellence at UT and a member of the Mvskoke Nation
John Troutman, Curator of the American Music Division of Culture and the Arts, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History
Julie L. Reed, Associate professor of history and a Cherokee Nation citizen

A dialogue with Joy Harjo and John Troutman, moderated by Julie Reed. The three speakers discuss the role played by American Indian peoples in the making of the landscape of US popular music. How is music tied into the politics of race and citizenship for Native American musicians? How did Native musicians change the face of American music?
Rumble: Natives and American Music

6th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Dr. Sarah Kay
Professor and Chair of the Department of French Literature, Thought and Culture,
New York University
Singing with the Stars
January 17, 2018, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

Can the songs of the troubadours be understood as “soundscapes”? Boethius’s Roman writings defined the “music of the spheres” as reflections of cosmic harmony based in abstract cosmological mathematics and as “acousmatic sound”-- sound one hears without seeing an originating cause.  Sarah Kay proposes a way of thinking about song in the Middle Ages that is equally acousmatic but originating from a different materiality based in a different cosmology, one that unites heaven and earth in breath and voice. If there is today an "acousmatic turn" then it is, if not a return, at least a reinvention in quite different terms of a formerly cosmic sonorousness.
Dr. Sarah Kay

6th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Robert Weems, Jr.
Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History, Wichita State University
“The Evolution of the TRILLION Dollar African American Consumer Market”
October 30, 2017, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

A century ago, African Americans were not a viable consumer market due to a variety of social, economic, political, and demographic circumstances. As the 20th century progressed, African Americans realized their growing power as consumers and attracted the attention of a variety of American corporations. Today, while annual African American consumer spending has passed the trillion dollar mark, Black consumption patterns represent spending weakness, rather than spending power.
Robert Weems, Jr.

6th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Robert Campany
Professor of Asian Studies and Religious Studies, Vanderbilt University
“The Culture of the Night: Dreams and Meaning-Making in Late Classical and Early Medieval China”
October 16, 2017, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee.

Why do we dream? While today science understands dreams to be the product of random mental activity, historical and anthropological perspectives give dreams more social and personal significance. This lecture examines how dreams were defined in China roughly between 300 BCE and 700 CE in a wide range of texts.  When Chinese people woke from their dreams, they told of them, and those social exchanges resulted in the extensive record preserved for us to study. The narratives provoke two questions of importance to us today: What are dreams?  And how should their meaning be ascertained?  What dreams may reveal is that even while sleeping, we are cultural, story-making beings.
Robert Campany

6th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Laurent Dubois
Professor of Romance Studies and History, Director of the Forum for Scholars & Publics, Duke University
"On the Trail of the Banjo: America’s African Instrument"
September 20, 2017, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee.

As an iconic American instrument, the banjo has been part of a wide range of musical traditions. In this lecture, renowned historian Laurent Dubois traces the banjo's origins, focusing on the earlies known descriptions from the 17th and 18th century Caribbean and North America, and offers an explanation for the banjo's adaptability and enduring power as a creator of both sound and symbolism.
Laurent Dubois

5th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Dr. Peter Sabor
Professor of English, McGill University
April 6, 2017, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee
“Jane Austen and the Common Reader: Contemporary Responses to Emma”

Austen’s novel Emma attracted more contemporary reviews than any other of Jane Austen’s novels. But not much attention has been paid to responses to the novel by private individuals. Professor Sabor discusses whether contemporary readers of Emma showed the kind of common sense that professional critics admired.
Dr. Peter Sabor

5th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Clifford Ando
David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Humanities and Professor of Classics and History, University of Chicago
March 30, 2017, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee
“Knowing the Roman State: The Epistemics of Sovereignty”

Professor Ando traces the history of Roman concepts for sovereignty over territory. Was the Roman empire a territorial state? When did the Romans come to think of themselves as ruling over a large territory and governing all of its people? Recent scholarship claims that Roman words for units of rule only acquire a stable meaning around the turn of the millennium.
Clifford Ando

5th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Jeffrey Cox
Professor of English and Humanities, University of Colorado, Boulder
 “Knowing Romanticism”
February 20, 2017, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

Our ability to know Romanticism is troubled by an excess of information. Scholars long ignored much cultural information about the period by fixating on the individual text and author. Professor Cox will explore how changing the processes by which we come to know Romanticism offers a truer picture of the age. Humanistic culture is created by specific, particularized communities, and we can know that culture only through the work of living scholarly communities.
Jeffrey Cox

5th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Jeffrey Pilcher
Professor History, University of Toronto
“How Beer Traveled the World: A Global History”
November 7, 2016, University of Tennessee

Almost every society has fermented alcoholic beverages—Mexican pulque, Peruvian chichi, Japanese sake…. But a particular variety German lager beer, has largely displaced these local brewing traditions to become a global consumer icon. Professor Pilcher examines how European beer traveled the world over the last two hundred years through networks of trade, migration, and colonialism.
Jeffrey Pilcher

4th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

John Bryant
Professor of English, Hofstra University
“Big Data | Close Reading: Melville and the Humanities as Fluid Texts"
April 7, 2016, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

Professor Bryant demonstrates how a newly developed digital humanities tool called TextLab allows cholars to visualize and interpret the “big data” that emerges when one analyzes the interrelated elements of “fluid texts,” or works that exist in multiple version (manuscript, editions, adaptations, etc.). TextLab is a means of understanding the works of Herman Melville, who wrote endlessly interpretable and edited texts.

John Bryant

4th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Helmut Reimitz
Professor of History, Princeton University
"Romanitas after Rome: On the Use and Abuse of the Roman Past in the Early Medieval West"
March 28, 2016, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

The legacy of the Roman past greatly influenced  the development of the most successful post-Roman kingdom in western Europe, the Frankish Merovingian kingdom in Gaul.  Professor Reimitz explains and  illustrates how Bishop Gregory of Tours wrote his histories to help his readers build a post-Roman future from the Roman traditions that still held their society  together.
Helmut Reimitz

4th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Kenneth Pomeranz
University Professor of History, University of Chicago
"Late Imperial Legacies: Land, Water, and Long-Run Economic Development in China"
March 21, 2016, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

Among the most striking features of late imperial China (ca. 1400-1912) is the combination of a highly commercialized society with the strength of peasant land use rights and a very small share of the population dependent on wage-earning. Professor Pomeranz traces the long-run consequences of the resulting system for urbanization internal trade, migration, environmental change, and fiscal policy.

Kenneth Pomeranz

4th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Daniel O'Quinn
Professor, School of English and Theatre Studies,
University of Guelph
"Shylocks: Anti-Semitism, Pugilism and the Repertoire of Theatrical Violence"
February 22, 2016, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

Professor O’Quinn tracks the career of the great 18th-century Jewish fighter Daniel Mendoza, the “Star  of  Jerusalem,” and his triumphs over the conspicuously English boxer Richard Humphries both before and after the French Revolution. The lecture explores the degree to which Mendoza’s acts were both conditioned by and aimed at ethnic stereotypes found on the Georgian stage. In startling ways, Mendoza was locked in endless rounds with Shakespeare’s Shylock himself.
Daniel O'Quinn

4th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Akeel Bilgrami
Sidney Morgenbesser Chair in Philosophy, Professor Committee on Global Thought,
Columbia University
"Agency, Value and Alienation"
February 11, 2016, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

With an eye to some of the chief ideals of the enlightenment, Professor Bilgrami discusses the relationship between the values we espouse and our  agency --  the capacity that each of us has to live our own life and determine our own actions. He presents a picture of the relationship between values and agency that embodies the ideal of an un-alienated life.
Akeel Bilgrami

4th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Martin Kern
Greg and Joanna Zeluck Professor in Asian Studies, Princeton University
"The Origins of Chinese Poetry”
January 14, 2016, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

Tracing poetic configurations through both the traditional Shijing and recently discovered bamboo manuscripts from ca. 300 BCE, Professor Kern presents new perspectives on ancient Chinese authorship, textual composition, and performance and suggests new  approaches to the origins of the Chinese literary  tradition.
Martin Kern

4th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Juliet Walker
Professor of History and Founder and Director of the Center of Black Business, History, Entrepreneurship, and Technology,
The University of Texas – Austin
“When Will All Black Economic Lives Matter?  After 400 Years, 1619-2019, We Are Still at the Racial Bottom”
November 9, 2015, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

Professor Walker extends the discussion of her groundbreaking  book, The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship (1998), to trace the history of black capitalism from precolonial African American business culture to that of the present.
Juliet Walker

4th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Michele Salzman
Professor of History, University of California-Riverside
"The 'Falls of Rome':  The Transformations of Rome in Late Antiquity (270-603)"
October 22, 2015, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

Rome fell. Several times. But what does it mean to say that Rome, the ancient capital of the Empire and still the largest city in the western Mediterranean, “fell”? Professor Salzman examines a series of military and political episodes and responses over roughly a 300-year period to what the inhabitants of the city themselves called “crises.” At its end, as the archaeological evidence demonstrates, Rome suffered a population loss and a contraction in trade—a downturn that was  not  inevitable nor was the result of a sudden catastrophic event.
Michele Salzman

4th Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Yunte Huang
Professor of English, University of California-Santa Barbara
"Charlie Chan and Yellowface"
September 21, 2015, Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

Tracking the iconic character of Charlie Chan from his real  beginnings as a bullwhip-wielding cowboy in Hawaii to his  reinvention as a Hollywood film sleuth played by white actors, Professor Yunte Huang explores the legacy of racial imagination as  both a burden and a catalyst of the American cultural experience.
Yunte Huang

3rd Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Robert Darnton
Carl Pforzheimer University Professor and University Librarian, Harvard University
"Books, Libraries, and the Digital Future"

April 1, 2015
Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee
Robert Darnton

3rd Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Stewart Shapiro
O'Donnell Professor of Philosophy, Ohio State University
"Continuity: Points, Gunk, Boundaries, and Contact"

February 6, 2015

Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee

Stewart Shapiro

2rd Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Patricia Ebrey
Professor of History, The University of Washington
"Emperor Huizong: Daoist, Poet, Painter, Captive"

March 10, 2014
Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee
Patricia Ebrey

2rd Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Amy Taylor
Associate Professor of History, University of Kentucky
"On the Frontlines of Freedom: Life Inside the U.S. Civil War's 'Contraband' Camps"

October 15, 2013
University Center, University of Tennessee
Amy Taylor

2rd Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Edward Hirsch
President, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
Poetry Reading

September 30, 2013
Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee
Edward Hirsch

2rd Annual Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series

Philippe Buc
Professor for the History of the High and Late Middle Ages, University of Vienna
"Wars to End All War: Apocalypse and Conflict in Medieval Europe and Beyond"

September 9, 2013
Lindsay Young Auditorium, University of Tennessee
Philippe Buc

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