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KNOXVILLE — This week’s Pregame Showcase features Dr. Tina Shepardson, associate professor of religious studies. She will present “The Bible Tells Me So: The Politics of Biblical Interpretation,” as she examines some of the complicated conscious and unconscious choices people make in interpreting Christian scripture.

“A lot of Americans rely on the Bible to support their views on everything from how to treat the environment to the use of our country’s military to the rights of gays and lesbians,” said Shepardson. “I will discuss the decisions behind saying ‘That’s what the Bible says’ at my showcase.”

Hosted in the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center ballroom two hours before kickoff, the showcases are free and open to the public and consist of a 30-minute presentation followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session. Light refreshments are provided, and this year, the UT Bookstore will offer a 10-percent discount on certain items to showcase attendees.

Program coordinators say the Pregame Showcase series is off to a great start. Last Saturday 185 guests gathered to hear School of Music Professor Cathy Leach present “Sound the Trumpet!” in which she discussed the versatility and wonder of the trumpet.

The remainder of the 2010 Pregame Showcase lineup includes:

  • Sept. 18 — Gary McCracken, department head and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, presents “The Conservation Crisis of North American Bats: What Happens If We Lose Them?” He will talk about misconceptions of bats, the disease that has affected bats in North America and the reason we need to fight for their survival.
  • Sept. 25 — Laura Howes, associate professor of English and interim director of the Marco Institute, presents “Exploring the Utility and Beauty of Medieval Gardens.” She will lead a virtual tour of medieval gardens and unveil the functionality behind their aesthetic appeal.
  • Oct. 23 — Stephanie Bohon, associate professor and co-director of the Center for the Study of Social Justice, presents “Place Matters: Characteristics of Cities that Attract and Sustain New Immigrants.” She will talk about the influence of location on immigrant populations and the effect immigrants have on the communities they inhabit.
  • Nov. 13 — Soren Sorensen, department head and professor of physics and astronomy, presents “Nature’s LEGOs: The Building Blocks of the Universe.” He will discuss, in a very simple manner without using any mathematical formulas, the answer to one of the most fundamental questions in nature: “What is everything made of?”
  • Nov. 27 — Brandon Prins, associate professor of political science, presents “The Pendulum of Congressional Power: Partisan Opposition to Presidential Foreign Policy.” He will engage the audience in an examination of the record of past presidents in their attempt to implement foreign policy legislation, considering the roles partisan politics and congressional activism played in facilitating or blocking a president’s agenda.

The showcases are sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences with support from WUOT 91.9 FM, the UT Alumni Association, the UT Office of Alumni Affairs and UT Athletics. For more information on the program, visit


Abbey Taylor (865-974-9409,