Whether you’re a native Tennessean or a newcomer, the state’s natural diversity and wild landscapes are among the most visible trademarks of the Volunteer State. But maybe you’ve never explored those places, even in your own neighborhood.
Today, a map is something you look at on a tiny smartphone screen, showing where you are and what's within fifty feet. But for most of cartography's history, maps took a broader view, showing not only political and geographic boundaries, but culture and art. Cartography is a melding of science and art, as Matt Shafer Powell learned while looking through the McClung Museum's newest acquisitions.
The University of Tennessee's McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture recently received a gift of 191 maps, some dating from the late 16th century. Many of the older maps blend artistic renderings of sea monsters, sailing ships and native peoples with practical depictions of the physical landscape. In short, the mapmakers put the "art" in "cartography".
That was not uncommon at the time, says Lindsey Waugh, Coordinator of Academic Programs at McClung. "These maps represent expressions of civic pride, of national pride."
Amy-Jill Levine is a New Testament scholar who specializes in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
She's also Jewish.
"People do think it's weird that I'm a Jew and I happen to be an expert in the New Testament," she says. "But when we think about that, Jesus is Jewish, all of his immediate followers are Jewish, the New Testament talks about Jews, so at the very basic level, studying the New Testament is studying Jewish history."
The place is South Africa, during the time of apartheid. A young white man, referred to as Master Harold, has a tense relationship with his black servants, Sam and Willie. The play is called Master Harold...and the Boys, and it’s rooted in the real life experiences of playwright Athol Fugard.