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Research Seminars and Workshops

two fellows looking over a manuscript.The Faculty Research Seminars are sponsored by the Humanities Center Steering Committee, which is convened by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and is comprised of the department heads in those fields devoted primarily to scholarly research in the humanities: Classics, English, History, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. The program is intended to bring together UT faculty, advanced graduate students, and visiting scholars in interdisciplinary or disciplinary groups for the purpose of exploring topics of common intellectual and scholarly concern. These seminars are designed to offer opportunities through regularly scheduled meetings for faculty to investigate and develop new areas of research through sustained intellectual collaboration. In addition to providing UT faculty members with opportunities that are not currently available in established departments or interdisciplinary programs, the seminars are also designed to allow graduate students to participate in ongoing scholarly dialogues.

All seminars sponsored by the Humanities Center will meet in the Center.  If exceptions to this policy are necessary, they should be discussed with the director.

Proposals are currently being accepted for faculty research seminars and workshops. The deadline is July 1 of the current calendar year.

Current Seminars


Contact | Vejas Liulevicius, History

Contemporary Arts and SocietyContemporary Arts and Society

Contact | Jered Sprecher, Art

Digital HumanitiesDigital Humanities

Contact | Ashley Maynor, Library

Freedom From All Sides - Philosophical IssuesFreedom From All Sides - Philosophical Issues

Contact | Jon Garthoff, Philosophy

Holy War in the Middle AgesHoly War in the Middle Ages

Contact | Jay Rubenstein, History

Late AntiquityLate Antiquity

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

Latin America and the Caribbean: Disputed VisionsLatin America and the Caribbean: Disputed Visions

Contact | Rudyard Alcocer, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures

Manuscript CulturesManuscript Cultures

Contact | Charles Sanft, History

Middle East StudiesMiddle East Studies

Contact | Erin Darby, Religious Studies

Nineteenth-Century British StudiesNineteenth-Century British Studies

Contact | Nancy Henry, English

Tennessee Workshop in Food, Agriculture, and SocietyTennessee Workshop in Food, Agriculture, and Society

Contact | Tore Olsson, History

The Transatlantic EnlightenmentThe Transatlantic Enlightenment

Contact | Misty Anderson, 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: 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: 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."

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