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KNOXVILLE –- A new Sunday series of events called Intercultural Intersections, along with lectures on topics ranging from underwater archaeology to animal mummies to sign language humor, will headline the spring semester of Ready for the World.

“This semester, our special events will look at the past, present and future. They’ll look around the world, as well as at the tapestry of cultures we have right here at home,” said Mary Papke, director of the Ready for the World initiative.

Now in its third year, Ready for the World has focused on Africa, Appalachia and Renaissance and medieval studies. Spring Ready for the World events will explore the past through several archaeological lectures and look toward the future during an environmental ethics conference.

Films from the top festivals worldwide will be featured throughout the semester, as will films from Brazil, Germany, France and Russia. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues will be the focus of another film series.

Museum and gallery exhibits and performances also will have Ready for the World themes.

Debuting this semester is Intercultural Intersections, a series of films, forums and other events each Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. in Hodges Library Auditorium. Students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to these free events.

“At Intercultural Intersections, UT students, faculty, staff and others will gather to explore cultures meeting across national, ethnic, racial, religious, political and sexual boundaries,” Papke said.

Other spring semester highlights include:

• Jan. 24 — A performance by the Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars at 7:30 p.m. in Cox Auditorium, Alumni Memorial Building. Formed by a group of refugees displaced to Guinea during the Sierra Leone Civil War, the band has toured extensively to raise awareness for humanitarian causes. Their appearance is sponsored by the Cultural Attractions Committee. For more about the band and to view a video clip, see http://www.utk.edu/events/events/index.php?com=detail&eID=12603.

• Jan. 31 — Sarah Sherwood of the University of the South, Sewanee, will present a lecture, “Using Earth Science to Address Archaeological Questions: Case Studies from the Bronze Age and Beyond.” The lecture, at 7:30 p.m. in McClung Museum Auditorium, is sponsored by the East Tennessee Society, Archaeological Institute of America.

• Feb. 9 — Step Afrika, a dance troupe that celebrates stepping, an art form born at African American fraternities and based in African traditions, will perform at 8 p.m. in the University Center Auditorium. It is sponsored by the Campus Entertainment Board.

• Feb. 17 — “A World of Orchestral Jazz,” a special concert by the UT symphony orchestra of jazz-infused works, written by composers spanning the globe, will be presented at 8 p.m., location to be announced.

• March 3 — Rachel Sutton-Spence of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom will present “Sign Language Humour and Deaf Culture: International Perspectives” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Hodges Library Auditorium. The event is being sponsored by the Student Organization for Deaf Awareness, Education of the Deaf, Educational Interpreting and Linguistics programs.

• March 11 — Anna Marguerite McCann will present “Underwater Archaeology: Exploring the Deep with Scuba, Robots and Subs” at 7:30 p.m. in McClung Museum Auditorium. This is the first Harry C. Rutledge Memorial Lecture in Archaeology.

• April 3 — Salima Ikram from the American University of Cairo will lecture on “Beloved Beasts: Ancient Egyptian Animal Mummies,” at 7:30 p.m. in McClung Museum Auditorium. The lecture is sponsored by the East Tennessee Society, Archaeological Institute of America.

• April 10-12 — “Energy and Responsibility: A Conference on Ethics and the Environment” will draw ethicists, legal theorists, energy policy-makers, energy producers and environmental activists from around the world. Events will be held at UT Knoxville and at the Knoxville Hilton.

• April 11 — Grammy-award winner Zakir Hussain, one of India’s most renowned cultural ambassadors, will appear with the Masters of Percussion at 7:30 p.m. in Cox Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Cultural Attractions Committee.

The goal of “Ready for the World: The International and Intercultural Awareness Initiative” is to transform the campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.


Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu