Category Archives: Gnosis

Pellissippi State plans ‘Art of Propaganda’ lecture

Are shopping bags and iconic posters turned Internet pop memes simply entertainment … or are they methods of propaganda?

That’s the question Knoxville-based sculptor and performance artist Caroline Covington will seek to answer during her free, Gnosis-sponsored lecture, “The Art of Propaganda,” at 4 p.m., Wednesday, April 10, in the Goins Building Auditorium.

“It’s an exciting genre because we love it. We love the bright colors and being able to look at an image and know immediately what it is,” said Covington, a 3D studio technician for The University of Tennessee’s School of Art.

According to Covington, popular art and entertainment of today often finds its roots in political propaganda, even in early 20th century Russian and Italian Fascist and Communist art. Take, for example, the “Hope” posters, designed by Shepard Fairey, which became nearly synonymous with President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“The iconography is very similar to what you would see in Russian poster art: cut and paste design, bold washes of color and simple, concise text. Even if you’re not politically savvy, it doesn’t matter. You can look at the image and immediately get what it’s trying to convey,” said Covington.

Covington said a 2009 advertising campaign by Saks Fifth Avenue used colors and symbols – such as raised fists – to mimic Russian and Italian political propaganda showing women “empowered to shop,” and art by Barbara Kruger is similar, proclaiming slogans such as “I shop therefore I am.”

“Art, at its core, presents the viewer with an image or object to interpret. What may seem simple often reveals several layers of meaning. We may think we’re just looking at a well-designed poster, but after picking apart the references, you see it’s doing another job: it’s selling you on something … it’s an interesting parallel,” Covington said.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Gnosis student club.

Caroline Covington is a sculptor and performance artist living and working in Knoxville. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture and a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from the University of Georgia in 2007.

For information about other Gnosis lectures, contact faculty sponsor Annie Gray at ajgray@pstcc.edu or call the College at 865-694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at 865-694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State awards three Gnosis student club scholarships

L-R, Scottie Wood, recipient; Lindsay Delay, recipient; Delonda Anderson, recipient; Annie Gray, Gnosis co-advisor; and Nathan Bowman, Gnosis president.

Three scholarships totaling $2,500 have been awarded on behalf of the student organization Gnosis by the Pellissippi State Foundation.

The scholarships went to Pellissippi State Community College students Delonda Anderson in English, Lindsay Delay in Paralegal Studies and Scottie Wood in Nursing. All three students have a 4.0 grade point average.

Gnosis, founded in 2009, is a student-led service-learning organization. The club draws its name from the Greek word for the highest form of knowledge, that which comes about only through experience. Gnosis membership includes students as well as faculty members with a love of learning and community service.

“The scholarships are designed for students who do not qualify for other types of financial aid but who still need financial assistance to complete their programs of study, ” said Annie Gray, Gnosis founder, co-advisor and English faculty member. Scholarship applicants submitted essays that outlined their commitment to community service, academic achievements, goals and financial need.

Funds were generated by faculty and community donations and proceeds from club sales at college events. All scholarship support goes through the Pellissippi State Foundation.

Gnosis has sponsored a wide variety of faculty and student lectures, as well as initiated many community service projects. The club has been named Pellissippi State’s Outstanding Student Organization for the past three years.

For more information about Gnosis or the scholarship, contact Annie Gray at (865) 694-6492 or call Pellissippi State at (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State lecture: Why Americans are intrigued by the supernatural

Wizards, vampires, werewolves, zombies. They’re on the rise.

Or rather, Americans’ interest in them is on the rise. That’s according to Heather Schroeder, an English faculty member at Pellissippi State Community College. And Schroeder thinks she knows why.

“The rise of interest in the supernatural in the last decade is not surprising,” she said. “It’s a direct outgrowth of the post-9/11 world.”

Schroeder, an author and former news reporter and editor, presents her thoughts in the lecture “Seduction of the Supernatural.” The event takes place 4:30-5:30 p.m., Oct. 29, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus of Pellissippi State.

The lecture is sponsored by the student club Gnosis. The community is invited to the free event.

“I will aim to show how our interest in all things supernatural is an attempt to explain larger social and cultural issues,” she said.

Schroeder will reference the Harry Potter and Twilight series. She also will discuss “A Discovery of Witches,” the first novel in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

“Especially in the South, you hear that books about the supernatural are anti-Christian and ungodly,” she said, “but what’s interesting about this kind of literature is that a lot of it isn’t in the ‘Horror’ section at the bookstores anymore.”

For more information about the lecture, contact Trent Eades, a Gnosis faculty sponsor, at tweades@pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State instructor speaks on Harry Potter’s connection to higher ed

Harry Potter has entered college. In fact, in academic institutions across the country, Harry Potter–themed courses are under way.

Jake Hamric, a Liberal Arts instructor at Pellissippi State Community College, explores the connections between the famous boy wizard and the state of higher education in an upcoming lecture, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Higher Education.” Hamric speaks on Sept. 25, 4-5 p.m., in the Goins Building Auditorium at the Hardin Valley Campus.

“I’ll look at how and why the Harry Potter books have been used in higher education to discuss and analyze issues such as morality, religion, and politics,” he said. “The characters in J.K. Rowling’s books must make important decisions that affect themselves and others, just like people in all modern societies.”

According to Hamric, Rowling’s books are being used in such postsecondary courses as English literature, sociology and history.

“I believe that the Harry Potter series provides an example of how popular culture can be effectively used in the college classroom,” he said.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Gnosis student club.

For information about other Gnosis lectures, contact faculty sponsor Annie Gray at ajgray@pstcc.edu or call the college at (865) 694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.