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UT’s Humanities Center has announced the upcoming lineup for its annual “Conversations and Cocktails” series, which will begin January 12.

Offered in collaboration with the Grill at Highlands Row, the series provides the community an opportunity to interact with guest scholars as they discuss history while enjoying special dinner and appetizer selections.

All discussions are free and will take place from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Dinner reservations are required and seating is limited. A reservation can be made by calling the Grill at Highlands Row at 865-694-1600.

Housed within the College of Arts and Sciences, the Humanities Center supports faculty fellows and graduate students whose work explores what it means to be human, our place in the universe, and our obligation to extend compassion and social justice to one another. Scholars in residence work on such diverse projects as translations of sacred scripture and studying the devastation wrought by World War II.

The first discussion of the series will feature UT scholar Charles Maland, J. Douglas Bruce Professor of English and Cinema Studies. The discussion is titled “’That’s What You Think’: James Agee as Movie Reviewer” and will explore how Agee responded to some of the famous films of his era.

Agee, a Knoxville native, was a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who was first known for his movie reviews for Time and The Nation published in the 1940s.

Maland recently completed the editing process of Complete Film Criticism: Reviews, Essays, and Manuscripts for the UT Press Works of James Agee series. He will provide guests with an overview of Agee’s movie reviewing career during the event.

Other “Conversations and Cocktails” talks include:

  • February 2—Thomas Burman, professor of history and Riggsby Director of the Marco Institute: “Ignored Model, Admired Enemy: Islam and Christian Europe”
  • March 1—Tore Olsson, assistant professor of history: “How East Tennessee Transformed the World: TVA’s Global Career after WWII”
  • April 5—Robert Glaze, doctoral student in history: “‘Hardships, perils and vicissitudes’: The Army of Tennessee in Civil War Memory”
  • May 3—Mary Campbell, assistant professor of art history: “The Mormon Church’s Polygamous Suffragettes”


Joan Murray (865-974-4222,