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KNOXVILLE — The importance of teaching humanities has been a major part of the national debate on a well-rounded college education.

Wilfred McClay, a widely acclaimed expert on American intellectual and cultural history, will speak at UT on March 27 about ways to better promote the humanities.

McClay’s lecture on “The Burden of the Humanities” will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Hodges Library Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

McClay is the SunTrust Bank Chair of Excellence in Humanities and Professor of History at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

“The need for the humanities is, if possible, greater than it ever has been,” said McClay. “But if they are to survive and thrive, their practitioners are going to have to offer a far more robust and broadly convincing defense of them than they have so far been able, or willing, to mount. This lecture considers some of the elements that will need to be present in such a defense.”

McClay’s book “The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America” won the 1995 Merle Curti Award of the Organization of American Historians for the best book in American intellectual history published in the years 1993 and 1994. He also has written “The Student’s Guide to U.S. History” and “Religion Returns to the Public Square: Faith and Policy in America.”

He currently is working on a biographical study of American sociologist David Riesman and editing two collections of essays.

McClay’s visit is sponsored by the Humanities Initiative of the College of Arts and Sciences in cooperation with the UT Office of Research.


Alan Rutenberg, Office of Research, (865) 974-8686,