Four UT faculty members and three graduate students have received appointments as resident fellows of the University of Tennessee Humanities Center. The inaugural class of fellows for the full 2012-2013 academic year includes Flavia Brizio-Skov, professor and chair of Italian in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures; Vejas Liulevicius, professor in the Department of History; Mark Luprecht, professor in the Department of English; Rachelle Scott, associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies; Anthony Minnema, graduate instructor and fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of History; and Kyle Stephens, graduate instructor and third-year doctoral candidate in the Department of History. Katharine Burnett, a graduate instructor and fourth-year doctoral student in English, will also be in residence in the center. Burnett is the recipient of an American Council of Learned Societies Mellon Dissertation Completion award.
Brizio-Skov teaches modern literature and cinema in the Italian Program. The author of numerous articles, Brizio-Skov has published a book on Lalla Romano entitled La scrittura e la memoria: Lalla Romano, a critical monograph on Antonio Tabucchi, and has edited a collection of articles entitled Reconstructing Societies in the Aftermath of War: Memory, Identity, and Reconciliation. She recently published the volume Popular Italian Cinema: Culture and Politics in a Postwar Society. Brizio-Skov will be writing a new history of the western genre from 1939 to the present during her fellowship.
Liulevicius is the Lindsay Young Professor in the Department of History and director of the Center for the Study of War and Society. His two earlier books, the most recent one entitled The German Myth of the East: 1800 to the Present, explored German relations with Eastern Europe from 1800 to the present. His current research focuses on modern European international history, the cultural significance of rivalries and alliances between states, and how these affect war and peace.
Luprecht is the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of English. His most recent research has focused on the British author and philosopher Dame Iris Murdoch. Luprecht has presented and published papers on Murdoch and has just completed editing a collection of essays on the author, Murdoch Connected, to be published by UT Press as part of the Tennessee Studies in Literature series. Most recently, Luprecht has published “Iris Murdoch and Theodor Reik: Sado-Masochism in The Black Prince” in Iris Murdoch: Texts and Contexts. Luprecht’s research project while resident in the seminar is an examination of Murdoch and the central European refugee community in London after World War II.
Scott studies the history of Theravada Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on contemporary Buddhism in Thailand. Scott’s first book, Nirvana for Sale?: Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakāya Temple in Contemporary Thailand, examined debates over monastic and lay wealth in Thai Buddhism. Her current research project, Gifts of Beauty and Blessings of Wealth, focuses on the emergence of new spirit-goddess cults in Thailand. Scott’s research examines how these spirit-goddess cults are linked in complex ways to representations of Thailand’s past, present, and future.
Minnema’s research focuses on Latin translations of Arabic works, and his dissertation is a study of European readers of the eleventh-century Muslim theologian al-Ghazali. His project uses medieval manuscripts and marginal notes to describe the audience, their interests, and how they incorporated this work into the greater European library despite condemnations from some church authorities. Minnema anticipates his scholarship will contribute to the study of reading, censorship, and cross-cultural understanding.
Stephens specializes in antebellum political and diplomatic history. His dissertation, “To the Indian Removal Act, 1814-1830,” examines Indian removal as a political issue from the War of 1812 to the ascendancy of Andrew Jackson. A contributor to the Encyclopedia of U. S. Political History, 2nd Ed., Stephens has twice received the Department of History’s Milton M. Klein Graduate Fellowship in American History (2009-2011) and the Bruce Wheeler Graduate Research Award for Early American History (2011).
Burnet’s interest is in 19th-century American literature and economics, transatlantic studies, and southern literature. She was recently awarded the prestigious 2012 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship for her dissertation project, “The Dixie Plantation State: Antebellum Fiction and Global Capitalism.” Burnett currently has an article forthcoming in the Southern Literary Journal titled, “Moving Toward a ‘No South’: George Washington Cable’s Global Vision in The Grandissimes.”
These awards will afford faculty fellows the opportunity to be fully engaged in their research projects with the expectation that the fellowship year will lead to the publication of essays and books. Likewise, this support will allow the graduate fellows to focus solely on completing their dissertations and thus assist them in competing for positions in higher education.
Thomas J. Heffernan, the Kenneth Curry Professor in the Humanities, is the director of the center, which is governed by a steering committee comprised of the heads of seven departments in the humanities: English, art, classics, history, modern foreign languages and literatures, music, and philosophy. The selection process for the above-mentioned awards was achieved through an external evaluation committee. To learn more about the University of Tennessee Humanities Center, visit the website.