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Conversation & Cocktails

When is continuing education fun? The answer: always -- with our UTHC series “Conversations & Cocktails”!

“Conversations & Cocktails” is a free public lecture and discussion series that showcases the original research of our distinguished UT arts and humanities faculty. Our monthly get-togethers give you the opportunity to hear about fascinating work in the arts and in such fields as philosophy, history, and literature studies.

Join us this year as we feature groundbreaking work exploring a wide range of exciting topics. Presentations are 30-40 minutes long and are designed for the general public. A spirited question-and-answer discussion follows each presentation.

For the continued health and safety of our campus and community, we will host our Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 Conversations & Cocktails lectures as webinars on Zoom.

You can check the Zoom Help Center to learn more about setting up an account and joining a meeting. Contact us if you have any questions at humanitiesctr@utk.edu or 865-974-4222!

Schedule for Fall 2022

(click on date for event information)

Time: 7:00 pm
Registration: tiny.utk.edu/CC_Dzon2022
Mary Dzon: Women and Emotions in the Later Middle Ages

Medieval culture attributed greater emotionality to women than to men, especially when it came to family issues, yet at the same time a number of medieval stories feature strong women able to temper, if not quell, their emotions. They are thus able to make decisions, act, and, even more frequently, endure what’s done to them and those around them with equanimity or at least without experiencing an emotional breakdown. This talk looks at late-medieval images and tales about the Virgin Mary that show her acting as a judge or advocate, considering the extent to which she is shown as moved by her emotions with regards to sinners, her adversaries, and God, and/or portrayed as a dispassionate woman who reflects on matters and responds to situations moderately, in accordance with justice and propriety.  

DzonMary Dzon is an associate professor in the Department of English at UT, and an active participant in the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Her first book, The Quest for the Christ Child in the Later Middle Ages, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2017, won the Best First Book Award from the Southeastern Medieval Association in 2021. She is also co-editor of The Christ Child in Medieval Culture: Alpha es et O!, which appeared with the University of Toronto Press in 2012. Professor Dzon continues to explore the medieval reception of New Testament apocrypha and medieval devotional culture more broadly. Her new book-length project explores divine emotionality and Marian advocacy in the later Middle Ages.

Time: 7:00 pm
Registration: tiny.utk.edu/CC_Stehle2022
Maria Stehle: Witches' Brew, Food, and Insatiable Bodies

Accounts of witchcraft from early modern times often tie witches to food: poisoned milk, destruction of crops, or the greedy brewing of deadly potions. This talk explores how contemporary, pop-cultural depictions of witches rewrite these well-known stories. In films, literature, and TV shows, witches confront myths around healthy eating and of gendered and racialized ideas of purity and beauty. Some examples of witches and food I explore in this talk are rebellious and decidedly feminist; others continue to perpetuate stereotypes of witches brewing evil.

StehleMaria Stehle is a professor of German and co-chair of the interdisciplinary program in cinema studies at UT. Her publications include three monographs entitled Ghetto Voices in Contemporary German Cultures (2012), Awkward Politics: The Technologies of Popfeminist Activism (with Carrie Smith, 2016), and Precarious Intimacies: The Politics of Touch in Contemporary European Cinema (with Beverly Weber, 2020). She has also published various book chapters, and articles in the fields of German, media, film, and gender studies. She is currently finishing her new book entitled Plants, Places, and Power: Towards Social and Environmental Justice in Contemporary German Literature and Film and has begun research on a new project on depictions of witches and food in popular culture.

Time: 7:00 pm
Registration: https://tiny.utk.edu/CC_Gaitors2022
Beau Gaitors (History): African Descendants in Mexican History

In the 2020 Mexican census more than 2.5 million people self-identified as African descendant. Reporters attributed this number to recent arrivals from West Africa and the Caribbean without reflecting on the vast presence in the colonial and early independence periods. This talk engages archival examples to illuminate African descendants’ crucial roles in Mexico history, providing a better understanding of their presence today.

GaitorsBeau D.J. Gaitors is an assistant professor in the UT Department of History. He is a historian of Latin America with research and teaching emphasis on the economic, political, and social impacts of African descendants in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Latin America after the abolition of slavery. Prior to coming to UT, he was an assistant professor of history at Winston-Salem State University. Gaitors received his Ph.D. in Latin American history in 2017 from Tulane University, his M.A. in history from Purdue University in 2010, and his B.A. in Africana studies and international relations from Brown University in 2008.

 

Schedule for Spring 2023

(click on date for event information)

Time: 7:00 pm
Registration: tiny.utk.edu/CC_DiSalvo2023
Gina Di Salvo: The Science of Revenge on the Shakespearean Stage

After the Great Comet of 1577, comets appeared in the theatre as both pyrotechnic and plot devices. On stage, comets came to function as part of a system of tragic interruption that adjudicated divine or moral problems of vengeance. This talk focuses on the transformation of the stage comet from a sign of destruction—the commonly held understanding of the comet in the Renaissance—into a sign of revenge.

SalvoGina Di Salvo is an assistant professor of theatre history and dramaturgy. Her research focuses on theatre, religion, and culture in late medieval and early modern England. Professor Di Salvo is also a professional dramaturg and has worked on productions in Chicago, Salt Lake City, and at the Clarence Brown Theatre. She currently holds the Paul D. Soper Professorship in the Department of Theatre.

Time: 7:00 pm
Registration: tiny.utk.edu/CC_King2023
Lisa King: A Sense of Indigenous Place at UT

Landmarks like Ayres Hall or Neyland Stadium are considered the defining features of UT’s Knoxville campus, but they aren’t actually the oldest or the even the most important sites with stories to tell. The Indigenous mound on the UT agricultural campus rarely receives the attention it deserves. UT faculty and staff are now working with Tribal Nations to tell the stories of the mound and this land, centering Indigenous perspectives for the first time. This talk will discuss some of those stories, as well as preview the McClung Museum’s forthcoming exhibition dedicated to the mound and indigenous culture in East Tennessee.

KingLisa King is an associate professor of rhetoric, writing, and linguistics in the Department of English at UT. Her work is interdisciplinary, based on cultural rhetorics with an emphasis in contemporary Native American/Indigenous rhetorics. She is co-editor of Survivance, Sovereignty, and Story: Teaching American Indian Rhetorics, and author of Legible Sovereignties: Rhetoric, Representations, and Native American Museums. Her current projects include a co-edited collection with Andrea Riley Mukavetz, titled Decolonial Possibilities: Indigenously-Rooted Practices in Rhetoric and Writing, and an upcoming exhibition at McClung Museum tentatively titled “A Sense of Indigenous Place.”

Time: 7:00 pm
Registration: tiny.utk.edu/CC_Gillis2023
Matthew Gillis: Medieval Holy War before the Crusades

In this installment of Conversations & Cocktails, Matthew Bryan Gillis will discuss the tradition of warfare in Europe from the end of Roman rule up to the First Crusade. Focusing especially on France, he’ll consider how Christians traditionally saw war as a religious experience throughout this era. Yet this tradition took on new meaning during the era of the Viking attacks, when Christians invented a crusading-like view of holy war for defending their land against the pagans centuries before the first crusaders marched to Jerusalem in 1096 CE.

GillisMatthew Bryan Gillis is an associate professor in the History Department at UT. He is the author of Heresy and Dissent in the Carolingian Empire: The Case of Gottschalk of Orbais (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017) and Religious Horror and Holy War in Viking Age Francia (Budapest: Trivent Publishing, 2021). Gillis also edited Carolingian Experiments (Turnhout: Brepols Publishing, 2022), and he is the series editor for Renovatio – Studies in the Carolingian World (Trivent Publishing).


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