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Distinguished Visiting Scholars Lecture Series

Elizabeth Catte David M. Lubin Deborah Wong Kimberly Bowes Lothar von Falkenhausen Montserrat Cabre Christopher Newfield Anita Allen Steven Stoll Jane Elliott Amy Greenberg Tracy K. Smith

Funded through the UT Humanities Center for use by faculty in one of our nine affiliated arts and humanities departments, the Visiting Scholars project brings distinguished humanities scholars and renowned artists to the Knoxville campus and connects UT humanities faculty to the best researchers in their fields. Because only speakers with exception records of publication and research activity are eligible to receive a nomination as a visiting scholar, the program brings to campus some of the most cutting-edge and prolific intellectuals in the humanities today.

Lectures are free and open to the public and are held on the UT Knoxville campus. Public parking is available by the stadium for our off-campus visitors. Everyone is welcome!

 Check our Twitter and Facebook sites for updated information about our Visiting Scholars Series. If you want more information, feel free to call us anytime.

2019-2020 Visiting Distinguished Speakers

Click on each of the names to find out more information about each scholar.

Michael WitmoreVinton CerfMichael Witmore
Folger Shakespeare Library

Vinton Cerf
Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Time: 7:00 P.M.
Student Union Auditorium - Room 180

Title:  “Machine Reading in the Digital Age”

If a machine can complete a sonnet by Shakespeare and fool an audience of English professors, is Shakespeare or the algorithm the truly great writer? What role will the humanities play in the training or direction of artificial intelligence that is evolving alongside our own? What role will computation play in the simple act of reading years in the future? Vinton Cerf and Michael Witmore discuss applications of digital techniques to our understanding of the humanities and their province of textual analysis today.

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).

Michael Witmore and Vinton Cerf were invited to the University of Tennessee by Amy Elias (Department of English/UTHC).

Celia ChazelleCelia Chazelle
Professor, Department of History
The College of New Jersey

Monday, September 23, 2019
Time:  3:30 P.M.
Lindsay Young Auditorium – UT Hodges Library

Title:  “Women and the Dead in the Carolingian World”

What important roles did women play in terminal care during the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries in western Europe? Formal ceremonies marked dying, death, and burial among clerics, monks, nuns, and aristocrats. Yet ordinary Christian funerals happened at home. In her presentation, Professor Chazelle examines how women cared for the dying and the dead within their households in practices apparently sanctioned by ecclesiastical authorities, who regarded death—much like birth—as a traditionally domestic family matter.

Celia Chazelle is professor of medieval history at The College of New Jersey. She is the author of The Crucified God in the Carolingian Era: Theology and Art of Christ’s Passion (2001), The Codex Amiatinus and its “Sister” Bibles: Scripture, Liturgy, and Art in the Milieu of the Venerable Bede (2019), and has co-edited several volumes on late antique and early medieval culture, religion, and art. She is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America.

Free and open to the public. A book signing will follow the lecture.

Celia Chazelle was invited to the University of Tennessee by Matthew Gillis (Department of History).


Zsuzsanna GulácsiZsuzsanna Gulácsi
Professor, Department of Comparative Cultural Studies
Northern Arizona University

Thursday, October 3, 2019
Time:  3:30 P.M.
Lindsay Young Auditorium – UT Hodges Library

Title:  “History of Manichaean Art in China”

Zsuzsanna Gulácsi was invited to the University of Tennessee by Shellen Wu (Department of History).


Jerry GershenhornJerry Gershenhorn
Julius L. Chambers Professor, Department of History
North Carolina Central University

Monday, October 28, 2019
Time:  3:30 P.M.
Lindsay Young Auditorium – UT Hodges Library

Title:  “The Power of the Press: Southern Black Journalists and the 20th-Century Freedom Struggle”

Jerry Gershenhorn was invited to the University of Tennessee by Brandon Winford (Department of History).


Kate ElswitKate Elswit
Reader in Theatre and Performance
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
University of London

Monday, November 11, 2019
Time:  3:30 P.M.

Title:  “Digital Methods for Movement on the Move”

Kate Elswit was invited to the University of Tennessee by Amy Elias (Department of English/UTHC).


William EggintonWilliam Egginton
Decker Professor of the Humanities, Director
Alexander Grass Humanities Institute
Johns Hopkins University

Monday, January 27, 2020
Time: 3:30 P.M.

Title:  “Humanities Education at the Crossroads: Why the Liberal Arts are Fundamental to Democracy”

William Egginton was invited to the University of Tennessee by Harrison Meadows (Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures).


Fred MotenFred Moten
Professor of Performance Studies
Tisch School of the Arts
New York University

Thursday, February 20, 2020
Time: 7 P.M.
Student Union Auditorium - Room 180


Fred Moten was invited to the University of Tennessee by Amy Elias (Department of English/UTHC).


Pamela GilbertPamela Gilbert
Albert Brick Professor, Department of English
University of Florida

Friday, March 27, 2020
Time:  3:30 P.M.

Title:  “Those Mysterious Markings: Tattoos, Identity and the Nineteenth-Century British Traveler”

Pamela Gilbert was invited to the University of Tennessee by Nancy Henry (Department of English).


Paul Jaskot Paul Jaskot
Professor of Art History and Director of the Wired Lab for Digital Art History and Visual Culture
Duke University

Monday, April 6, 2020
Time:  3:30 P.M.

Title:  “Nazi-Occupied Krakow: Digital and Analog Approaches to the Holocaust”

Paul Jaskot was invited to the University of Tennessee by Daniel Magilow (Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures).

Photo of Jaskot credit: DePaul University, Jeff Carrion

We would like to thank the Office of Research & Engagement for their generous support.

To view previous Visiting Distiguished Speakers, click the following links: 2018-2019

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