Anthony Nownes has been a professor of political science at UT for the past 25 years and is in charge of the department’s honors program. He teaches both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in political science and oversees undergraduate thesis work for the department’s honors students.
His research is focused primarily on interest groups in the United States. His book Total Lobbying: What Lobbyists Want (and How They Try to Get It) was published by Cambridge University Press in 2006.
Why this field?
Nownes knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career in political science, but he found himself uninterested in its practical applications in government work.
“I’m much more interested in observing and studying [politics] than actually doing it,” he said. “The real world of politics is pretty stressful. . . . People get mad and scream at each other a lot, and you have to try to persuade people to believe stuff they may not want to believe. I wasn’t interested in that.”
He instead found his calling in the classroom, where he was able to have real conversations with students about political science.
“If I just wanted to sit and read or write I’d get a job at a think tank or work in government, but I like teaching and I’ve always liked the students here.”
Most of Nownes’s time is spent with his family, but he’s also an avid music fan. He enjoys playing guitar and finds time to go to shows in Knoxville.
“It’s a good town for live music, especially if you’re old,” Nownes said. “Knoxville tends to get a lot of music acts that are on their way up or on their way down because we have a lot of midsize venues.”
He also collects old movie posters, and nearly all of his office’s available wall space is plastered with classic film noir titles.
If he didn’t do this . . .
Nownes has a hard time imagining a career outside collegiate academics and has never seen himself as cut out for typical nine-to-five jobs.
“I hate getting up early,” he joked, “and I’m not a suit-and-tie type of guy.”
There was a period of time where Nownes considered nonprofit work, but he found the draw of education too strong.
Favorite spot on campus
“I like the Baker Center,” Nownes said. “It’s new and clean and everything works. They have top-notch bathrooms over there.”
He also enjoys wandering around the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center listening to the various sounds and instruments.
And occasionally he runs on Tom Black Track.