A semester-long celebration of African culture is scheduled to begin at UT in January.
The event titled "Africa at Home, Home in Africa" will continue through May.
The purpose of the semester is to show how Africans and African elements have influenced cultures worldwide and how African artists reflect non-African cultural influences in their works.
"We want to show that Africa is not an isolated continent but interactive with other cultures," said Stefanie Ohnesorg, professor of modern foreign languages and literature.
Ohnesorg said she hopes that by the end of the semester there is a better understanding of African culture.
Numerous events have been planned to further the purpose of the semester. Campus activities such as museum exhibits, plays and African dance shows have been planned. Outreach activities and workshops are planned for the community by bringing storytelling, concerts and lectures to local schools.
A kick-off event on Feb. 4 includes a parade starting at the Black Cultural Center and ending at the UC Ballroom where there will be music, food and a chance to meet and greet.
An exhibit at the McClung Museum will run throughout the semester. The exhibit, The World Moves, We Follow: Celebrating African Art, is scheduled to be open Jan. 11 through May 18. William Dewey, an assistant professor in the school of art, is the exhibition curator.
The title is taken from a Yoruba proverb that speaks about change, Dewey said.
"The exhibition is about the inevitability of change and how African art is not just masks and sculptures, as most people think it is, but a dynamic art form that has changed over time," he said. "What I'm trying to do in the exhibit is to show that it's much more than that - that it's also textiles, utilitarian objects, paintings and all kinds of things."
Dewey said the exhibit is seeking to introduce African art to a new audience, because East Tennessee has never shown a major exhibition of African art.
"It's a general exhibition about African art, borrowing from seven different museums around the country, so it's bringing in some really spectacular African art."
The exhibit will feature modern day as well as ancient art, Dewey said.
"We have some art from the ancient kingdom of Benin in Nigeria that's probably dated back to the 16th or 17th century, and then (the exhibit) goes up to some things that are very contemporary," he said.
Other events include the Nobel Prize-winning playwright Wole Soyinka's highly-regarded adaptation of the Greek play Euripides entitled The Bacchaee of Euripidies: A Communion Rite. The play is scheduled to run at the Clarence Brown Theatre from Feb. 6 through Feb. 16.
"It's an ancient Greek play and Soyinka did a modernized version of it with some African elements in it," Carolyn Hodges, head of the modern foreign languages and literatures department, said. "I've taught the play before but never seen it. I'm really looking forward to it."
In connection with the play, an event entitled "Theatre Talk: International Theatre" will be held on Feb. 9 at Barnes & Noble on Kingston Pike at 2 p.m. The discussion is free and open to the public.
Another attraction will be the musical group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which is known to represent the traditional culture of South Africa.
In 1993, at Nelson Mandela's request, the band accompanied the him to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Mambazo also sang at President Mandela's inauguration in May 1994.
The group is scheduled to perform on March 2 at 8 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Auditorium.
New events are constantly being scheduled. For more information regarding the Africa Semester visit the events Web site at pr.tennessee.edu/africa.