Faculty note: Hutchison presentation on ‘tent graves’

Prof. Ray Hutchison (Sociology) will be presenting an overview of his recent (and continuing) research on tent graves of the Tennessee highlands at the Social Science Research Forum this Friday (Oct. 23) from 2:20 to 3:30 p.m. in Bemis Hall Room 213 at St. Norbert College, De Pere. Hutchison’s talk, titled “East Tennessee Ephemerides: The Tent Graves of East Tennessee,” focuses on a unique feature of regional culture from the Cumberland Plateau: More than 3,000 tent graves dating from 1820 to 1900 are found in the eastern highland rim of the Cumberland Plateau. Local tradition says that they were intended to deflect rain from the grave and to prevent cows from stepping into the soft earth. Hutchison observes, however, that this is also the area of the Second Great Awakening and the birth of many new religious ideas that strongly influence local cultures to the present day. Are there other explanations for the sudden appearance and gradual end of the tent grave tradition? The Social Science Research Forum is a long-running lecture series on the campus of our cross-town cousins and occasionally features UWGB presenters.