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2016 Conversations & Cocktails

The 2016 Conversations and Cocktails were held at The Grill at Highlands Row, 4705 Old Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919. Each event was from 6:00-7:30 P.M.

The conversations served up during the 2016 series include:

  • Tuesday, January 12, 2016
    "'That's What You Think': James Agee as Movie Reviewer"
    Guest Scholar: Charles Maland, J. Douglas Bruce Professor of English and Cinema Studies
    Abstract: Knoxville native James Agee may be known to us for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Death in the Family, or for his screenplays of The African Queen and Night of the Hunter, but not as many know that he reviewed movies for Time and The Nation between 1942, that he first achieved broad recognition in the U.S. as a movie reviewer, and that even today, he's considered one of the greatest American movie reviewers.  Maland has just finished editing Complete Film Criticism: Reviews, Essays, and Manuscripts for the UT Press Complete Works of James Agee and will give an overview of Agee's movie reviewing career while commenting on his movie tastes and on how he responded to some of the famous films of the era.
  • Tuesday, February 2, 2016
    "Ignored Model, Admired Enemy: Islam and Christian Europe" 
    Guest Scholar: Thomas Burman, professor of history and Riggsby Director of The Marco Institute
    Abstract: Christian Europeans—and by extension the westerners in general—have been deeply ambivalent about Islam.  They feared Islam as a powerful new religion, but sought to emulate its sophisticated culture and borrow its advanced science.
  • Tuesday, March 1, 2016
    "How East Tennessee Transformed the World: TVA's Global Career after WWII"
    Guest Scholar: Tore Olsson, assistant professor of history
    Abstract: The American South – and particularly our corner of it in East Tennessee – is commonly imagined as insular, isolated, and disconnected from the larger world.  In fact, this is far from true.  In this presentation, Olsson will demonstrate how twentieth-century efforts to overcome poverty in the region – particularly through the Tennessee Valley Authority – came to serve as a model for accomplishing similar goals in places as far-flung as Mexico, India, and Afghanistan.  After World War II, countless governments in the so-called "Third World" looked to the Tennessee Valley for lessons in rationalizing water, land use, and human society, along the way transforming millions of lives and vast ecologies.  East Tennessee, it turns out, has a global footprint far greater than you may expect!
  • Tuesday, April 5, 2016
    "'Hardships, perils and vicissitudes': The Army of Tennessee in Civil War Memory"
    Guest Scholar: Robert Glaze, doctoral student in history
    Abstract: The Army of Tennessee, the Confederacy's primary army in the Western Theater, lost nearly every battle in which it fought and its high command was composed of generals who were incapable, egotistical, and petulant.  However, after the Civil War ended, white Southerners constructed the Lost Cause, a mythology that insisted on the martial, moral, masculine, and spiritual superiority of the Rebel military.  While these ideals are seemingly incompatible with the Army of Tennessee's wartime record, former Confederates succeeded in constructing a memory of this failed army in a way that validated these cultural convictions.
  • Tuesday, May 3, 2016
    "The Mormon Church's Polygamous Suffragettes"
    Guest Scholar: Mary Campbell, assistant professor of art history
    Abstract: Between 1824 and 1872, the second Mormon prophet, Brigham Young, married fifty-six women. Despite his dedication to polygamy, however, Young actively avoided being photographed with any of his wives.  Young was not alone in his refusal to commemorate plural marriage in pictures.  In this talk, UTK art historian Mary Campbell will discuss the striking absence of plural wives from the LDS visual record, as well as the often-surprising ways in which these women began to represent themselves during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

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