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Current and Past Seminars

Current Seminars

AfterWars

AfterWars

Contact | Vejas Liulevicius, History



Freedom From All Sides - Philosophical Issues

Freedom From All Sides - Philosophical Issues

Contact | Jon Garthoff, Philosophy



Gender and Sexuality in Historical Perspective

Gender and Sexuality in Historical Perspective

Contact | Margaret Andersen, History



Late Antiquity

Late Antiquity

Contact | Gregor Kalas, Architecture and Design & Jacob Latham, History



Nineteenth-Century British Studies

Nineteenth-Century British Studies

Contact | Nancy Henry, English



Rethinking Space and the Uses of GI Science in Digital Humanities

Rethinking Space and the Uses of GI Science in Digital Humanities

Contact | Shellen Wu, History



The Transatlantic Enlightenment

The Transatlantic Enlightenment

Contact | Hilary Havens, English


 

Previous Seminars

Contact: Megan Bryson, Religious Studies

Scholars of East Asia are familiar with China's claim to centrality in its name Zhongguo, meaning "Middle Kingdom." China has been an important cultural center in East Asia, and other countries in the region have developed their own cultural, political, and economic centers as well. These centers are defined in relation to peripheries, namely the geographic or metaphorical spaces that lie far from institutional power, such as the far north in Japan and the far west in China. The faculty research seminar "Centers and Peripheries in East Asia" explores how people in East Asia have conceived of centers and peripheries in different time periods and regions. Centers and peripheries – both geographical and metaphorical – lack stability synchronically, in the sense that they are relative and do not have fixed meanings: one person's center can be another person's periphery. They also lack stability from a diachronic perspective in that centers and peripheries change over time. Examining the processes by which people construct centers and peripheries allows us to develop new ways of thinking about what is "central" in the study of East Asia, and to create new kinds of knowledge rather than merely reinforce received knowledge.

For more information about this seminar, click here.

Contact: Jered Sprecher, Art

"Contemporary Arts and Society" is a Faculty Research Seminar concerned with ongoing developments and debates in aesthetics, theory, media, and practice. How do we define the contemporary, and what does it mean to work with cultural materials that have no canon? What art practices and aesthetic theories are unique to our own moment, or distinctive of it, and what is their relationship to the world in the 21st century? What is the relationship between the contemporary and older art categories and periodizations?  The seminar brings together current and future scholars from a variety of disciplines (English, German, Italian, Art and Art History, Cinema Studies, Digital Humanities, and others) to investigate these and other key scholarly questions related to the arts of the present.

For more information about this seminar, click here.

Contact: Ashley Maynor, Library

The so-called digital humanities is a burgeoning and contested field in academia. Lauded as a solution to the "death" of humanities and loathed for its status as an ambiguous buzz word, this seminar seeks, at its core, to shed light on both the term and the contemporary practice of digital humanities scholarship.To this end, we envision our seminar as an opportunity to explore the wide field of digital scholarship, which includes faculty, librarians, artists, technologists, and alternative academics whose collaborations are advancing humanities research into new digital realms. In particular, our inclusion of alternate academics is aimed to address the post-graduation challenges for new PhDs in the Humanities.

For more information about this seminar, click here.

Contact: Jay Rubenstein, History

“Holy War in the Middle Ages” will focus on one of the Middle Ages’ central historical problems: the character of religious violence and its effects on cultural developments in both Europe and the Middle East. Our primary focus will be the crusade movement, which began in the late eleventh century and continued into the fourteenth century and arguably beyond. The Frankish-Muslim wars for control of Jerusalem by itself is a massive topic, but recent crusade scholarship has drawn into its orbit the so-called Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula; wars between Normans, Greeks, and Muslims for control of Sicily; internal campaigns against heresy in Europe; European missionary movements into the Mongol Empire; and religious violence and persecution more broadly construed. “Holy War in the Middle Ages” thus will address the traditional narrative of the crusades (beginning with Urban II’s declaration of war for Jerusalem in 1095 and continuing to the Fall of Acre in 1291) but will add broader theoretical considerations into the mix as well. Our fundamental question will be, "How does war change when God says that killing is not just acceptable but by itself virtuous?"

For more information about this seminar, click here.

Contact: Rudyard Alcocer, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures

This interdisciplinary seminar allows UT faculty developing research projects related to Latin America & the Caribbean to show early stages of their work with others on campus who share a scholarly interest in the region. The seminar also organizes relevant lectures and public presentations by visitors who are expert in Latin America & the Caribbean. Several lines of inquiry, accessible both to scholars of Latin America & the Caribbean, as well as to those with indirect interests in the region, will inform the seminar's conversations, including the region's complex historical trajectory, its dynamic and equally complex societal formations, and its abundant cultural production.

For more information about this seminar, click here.

Contact: Charles Sanft, History

The University of Tennessee gathers a considerable body of scholars who work with manuscripts in their research. These manuscripts come from many chronological periods and geographical areas, from antiquity to the eighteenth century, from Sinai to Yunnan, and record languages from Arabic to Old English. The Manuscript Cultures seminar is a regular, informal meeting of faculty, graduate students, and guests for presentations and conversation about our ongoing work with manuscripts. Its themes span pragmatic issues of accessing and interpreting handwritten materials; abstract concepts like writing's relationship to power; and questions that pass through and beyond both of these, such as practices of writing, speaking, listening, and reading in the production and dissemination of knowledge. We discuss multilingual manuscripts, excavated materials, religious writings, and the working texts of literary creation. An interdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students make up the seminar, representing Classics, English, History, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and Religious Studies.

For more information about this seminar, click here.

Contact: Monica Black, History & Sara Ritchey, History

The humanities offer a primary means of knowing the body, its ailments, and its habits of healing, living and dying. This premise forms the foundation of the Medical Humanities seminar, and informs its two fundamental goals. First, seminar participants aim to advance knowledge of the body and its frailties across many fields of inquiry -- history, literature, art, theater, anthropology, and religion through a shared interest in the social and cultural significance of medicine, embodiment, sickness, modes of approaching healing, and mortality. Second, the seminar aims to critique the deleterious academic practice of holding scientific and humanist knowledge production distinct. Bifurcation of knowledge about the body and its frailties exacerbates national and global problems in contemporary healthcare practice. We hope to construct new public and scholarly discourses on medicine, health, and mortality and foster the integration of humanistic inquiry at the level of healthcare policy, practice, and individual decision-making.

For more information about this seminar, click here.

Contact: Jay Rubenstein, History

For the better part of the last century medieval scholars have, by instinct, challenged traditional borders, both in terms of the geographic scope of their research and their willingness to cross disciplinary boundaries. The faculty research seminar "Medieval Frontiers: Intellectual, Cultural, and Linguistic," continues in this intellectual tradition, seeking to reconstruct the geographic and imaginary worlds that gave form to life in the Middle Ages and led to the construction of the national identities that continue to shape fundamental assumptions about today's world. While addressing the significance of the boundaries that have defined and continue to define peoples, this seminar will also give careful consideration to alien groups, living both within and outside the Christian European world—particularly, but not limited to, Muslims, Jews, and heretics. An awareness of how these groups coexisted and clashed, often violently, with dominant Christian communities, is an essential task in the redefinition of the medieval world and the frontiers that existed both at its borders and within its superficially unified communities.

Contact: Erin Darby, Religious Studies

The goal of this seminar is to stimulate further faculty and graduate student research in Middle East Studies through presenting in-progress writing, evaluating newly published materials, and hosting colleagues from other institutions. The seminar promotes cross-disciplinary interaction and scholarly community, and it contributes to the objective of building a robust presence for Middle East related research and teaching at the University. The seminar participants are affiliated with programs and departments across UTK’s campus and come from different disciplinary backgrounds, spanning the Middle East and North Africa from ancient history to the modern era.  Each participant possesses specialist knowledge, language skills, and methodological approaches to textual and material evidence that can help inform the research of the others. These differences will continue to allow for genuinely interdisciplinary discussions that strengthen the breadth and depth of each participant’s individual work.

For more information about this seminar, click here.

Contact: Maria Stehle, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures

The Faculty Research Seminar on Modern Germany and Central Europe draws on UT's cross-departmental strength in German Studies, joining together faculty and graduate students from the German Program, the History Department, and the Department of Religious Studies. The seminar provides an ongoing forum for the interdisciplinary discussion of recent work on German-speaking Europe; its core participants present their own works-in-progress and also bring in outside scholars who are doing research in related fields.

For more information about this seminar, click here.

Contact: Dawn Coleman, English

The Faculty Research Seminar on Religion in North America is a multidisciplinary intellectual community designed to foster scholarship that addresses questions of religion and secularity in North America from 1500 to the present. The group welcomes faculty and graduate students from any discipline in the humanities or social sciences; participants thus far have hailed from Religious Studies, English, History, and Art History. Most meetings focus on the presentation and discussion of a participant's pre-circulated work in progress, with lead discussants beginning the session with prepared remarks. Each semester the group also sets aside a session to discuss a book or series of articles relevant to participants' research interests and hosts a visiting speaker who meets with the seminar and gives a public lecture on some aspect of religion in North America. In Spring 2012, the seminar sponsored Dr. Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Professor and Department Chair of Religious Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and Adjunct Professor of American Studies, who gave a well-attended talk titled, "Saints of Darkness: Mormons, Race, and the Issue of an African American Priesthood."

Contact: Tore Olsson, History

How has the struggle to feed and clothe the human species influenced culture, politics, economy, and environment from the Neolithic era to the present day? How has the production and consumption of food both reinforced and challenged human divisions of race, class, and gender? This research seminar seeks answers to such broad questions, convening scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and biophysical sciences to ponder the intersection of food, agriculture, and society. A truly interdisciplinary forum, the seminar will showcase food studies research at the University of Tennessee in addition to hosting a range of visiting scholars.

For more information about this seminar, click here.

Contact: Charles Sanft, History

ransmissions is an ongoing series of conversations about movement: the movement of information, ideas, media, and people. We are interested in all places where ideas and people from different contexts and times come into contact with each other, change, and are changed in the process. Textual transmission is the paradigmatic example of the things that preoccupy us. We want to know what happens in the processes of creation and conveyance of texts, how those texts reach us, and what texts are and aren’t. But Transmissions concerns more than texts alone. Oral literature and material culture also feature, as does consideration of our own roles as scholars. Transmissions does not acknowledge any geographic limitation and everyone is invited to join our discussions. We ask only that participants come ready for exchange. We look forward to a cross-pollination of ideas and methodologies across divisions of field and chronology, and the theoretical and methodological insights that will ensue.

For more information about this seminar, click here.

Contact: Lisi Schoenbach, English & Amy Elias, UTHC

his seminar gathers scholars from several disciplines to consider new approaches to the university as an incubator of groundbreaking research and a place of teaching. Seminar participants will study the challenges that face universities today and think productively, pragmatically, and constructively about how faculty might shape research projects in ways that will have a greater public impact, how faculty might take part in the life of the institution, and how better to understand the systems and structures on which university life has been built over the last century--and is being built today. What role do faculty, students, research institutes, and corporate firms have today in defining the mission of the university? What new models of the university as institution are emerging today and demand our consideration and evaluation?

For more information about this seminar, click here.


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