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It’s football time in Tennessee—and that means it’s also time for the College of Arts and Sciences Pregame Showcase.

Now in its twenty-fourth season, the Pregame Showcase gives fans the chance to hear from esteemed faculty prior to each gridiron matchup. This year’s first showcase will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, before the home opener against Austin Peay State University.

Free and open to the public, each showcase features a thirty-minute presentation followed by a fifteen-minute question-and-answer session. Presentations begin two hours before kickoff in the Carolyn P. Brown University Center Ballroom (Room 213). A brief reception will be held immediately following each program. Door prizes will be awarded.

This season will feature a wide range of topics, including atomic physics, the human internal clock, Thai mysticism, austerity politics, and scientific computing.


The August 31 showcase, “What’s In a Name? The ‘Place Politics’ of Streets Named for Martin Luther King Jr.,” will feature Derek Alderman, professor and head of the geography department, talking about the public commemoration of King through the naming of streets in his honor.

Alderman says naming streets to honor King often forces communities to grapple with questions of race and racism. His research has shown that street-naming proponents sometimes face “place politics” in their struggle to honor King on major roads and, in many instances, public opposition has led King’s namesakes to be minor side roads or portions of streets confined to African-American neighborhoods.

Alderman is an expert in cultural and historical geography, specifically related to public memory, heritage tourism, the civil rights movement, and African-American history. His research about naming of streets in honor of King is chronicled on his website. He has co-authored the book Civil Rights Memorials and the Geography of Memory and has written numerous book chapters and scholarly articles. His research has been highlighted by such media outlets as BBC News Magazine, USA Today, CNN, and Reuters.

Here’s the lineup for the rest of the season:

September 7—”Star Dust and Atom Smashers.” Kate Jones, associate professor of physics and astronomy, will explain how the atomic nucleus—despite being less than a thousandth of the size of an atom—leaves its fingerprints on the chemical composition of the solar system.

September 28—”Anthropology as a Tool for Improving the Human Condition.” Tricia Redeker Hepner, associate professor of anthropology and co-director of the college’s new Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights Program, will explain how faculty and students are exploring the causes, contexts, and consequences of contemporary crises, from oil spills and refugee flows to mass grave excavations and postwar reconstruction.

October 5—”Tick Tock: Sleep Across the Lifespan and the Role of the Internal Clock.” Theresa Lee, professor of psychology and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a biopsychologist who has researched the importance of sleep and the internal clock, will talk about research that explains how sleep patterns vary across a lifetime and what is “normal.”

October 19—”Haunted Bangkok: Angry Spirits, Buddhist Power, and Popular Media in Thailand.” Rachelle Scott, associate professor of religious studies, will talk about the role of ghosts and other supernatural beings in Theravada Buddhism and how these stories continue to impart ethical lessons to Buddhists across Asia and around the world.

November 9—”Making the Cuts: Austerity Policies and Their Social Implications.” Jon Shefner, head of the Department of Sociology, will look at the effects of spending cuts, tax hikes, and other measures governments use to reduce their budget deficits during adverse economic conditions.

November 23—”Simulations for Solutions: Solving Problems Through Scientific Computing.” Steven Wise, associate professor of mathematics, will discuss the evolution of scientific computing and look at the challenges that lie ahead, including how we might—and might not—be able to solve some of our biggest problems with the help of computers.

C O N T A C T :

Lynn Champion (865-974-2992,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,