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Three UT professors—Tricia Hepner, Mark Hulsether, and Liz Teston—are serving as Fulbright Scholars this academic year.

The Core Fulbright Scholar Program is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world. The program offers more than 500 teaching, research, or combination teaching/research awards in more than 125 countries. Scholars are chosen based on their leadership and ability to teach, conduct research and contribute to solutions for shared international concerns.

Tricia Hepner
Tricia Hepner

Tricia Hepner is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences. She’s also the director of the Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights (DDHR) program.

Hepner will teach and conduct research in the Institute for Ethnology at the University of Munich in Germany. She will work through data collected with a Wenner-Gren Foundation grant on Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers and their mass mobilization for human and refugee rights for an upcoming monograph, tentatively titled Pillars of Salt: Captivity and Resistance in the Eritrean Refugee Experience.

Hepner said she hopes to gain inspiration and insight from working in Germany, which in recent years has absorbed more refugees than any other European country. In addition, she will teach an advanced English-language seminar that blends elements of two popular courses in the DDHR program. The course—titled Refugees, Displaced People, and Human Rights—will emphasize experiential learning.

Mark Hulsether
Mark Hulsether

Mark Hulsether is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Hulsether will spend the spring of 2018 based in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, as a Fulbright Research Chair in Arts and Humanities. He will work on a book, Listening for More: Spirituality and Cultural Critique in American Popular Music, an interdisciplinary exploration of how popular music, spiritual-religious discourses, and cultural critique intersect.

His goal is to show how critical blind spots prevent listeners from appreciating the full range and importance of music that falls in overlapping spaces of music, religion, and critique. In the end, his hopes are that readers will gain critical tools to extend their listening of music widely and deeply through our culture.

Liz Teston
Liz Teston

Liz Teston is an assistant professor in the School of Interior Architecture in the College of Architecture and Design.

Teston will spend seven months in Romania as part of the interior architecture faculty at Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism. She will teach a course that focuses on urban spaces, both interiors and exteriors that feel like interiors; the way people use urban spaces; and politics related to design.

Using Romania’s capital, Bucharest, as a subject, Teston also will continue her research into political forces that shape interior architecture and design and how those forces filter cultural identity. She believes free-market development and its spatial politics have radically changed the city, and her research will include an empirical analysis of Bucharest’s architecture and observations connected to these theories.

Teston also will continue research for the James Johnson Dudley Award, which focuses on exterior spaces that are sometimes perceived as interior spaces. Her study looks at public spaces in downtown Knoxville and Nashville, and Teston plans to apply those findings to similar spaces in Bucharest.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,