Society Of Tolkien Launches Counter-Programming In Response To Tolkien Society’s “Tolkien and Diversity” Seminar

The Society of Tolkien recently announced a counter-program for the Tolkien Society’s upcoming “Tolkien And Diversity” seminar.

The Tolkien Society had previously announced its Tolkien and Diversity seminar in February.

Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Related: Tolkien Society Announces ‘Tolkien and Diversity’ Theme for Summer Seminar

They explained what exactly the seminar would focus on in a call for papers by asking: “How do adaptations of Tolkien’s works (from film and art to music) open up a discourse on diversity within works?” of Tolkien and his place in modern society? “

They further stated, “Beyond its secondary world, diversity further encompasses Tolkien’s readership and the way his texts exist in the primary world.”

They then asked, “Who is reading Tolkien?” How is it understood in the world? How can these new readings enrich current perspectives on Tolkien?

Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

“Representation is now more important than ever, and Tolkien’s efforts to represent (or ignore) particular characteristics require further consideration,” said the Tolkien Society.

“Additionally, how a character’s identity shapes and influences their place in Tolkien’s secondary world always requires more attention,” they added.

Specifically, they state that “this seminar aims to explore the many possible applications of ‘diversity’ in Tolkien’s works, his adaptations and readership.”

Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

As for the topics for the articles they wanted, they provided a list:

  • Representation in Tolkien’s works (race, gender, sexuality, disability, class, religion, age etc.)
  • Tolkien’s approach to colonialism and post-colonialism
  • Adaptations of Tolkien’s works
  • Diversity and representation in Tolkien’s university and readership
  • Identity in Tolkien’s Works
  • Otherness in Tolkien’s Works

Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Related: Tolkien Society Summer Seminar 2021 to Focus on ‘Tolkien and Diversity’

More recently they revealed the timetable and the documents that will be discussed during the seminar.

They include:

  • Gondor in Transition: A Brief Introduction to Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Rings
  • The Pain Problem: Representation of Physical Disability in JRR Tolkien’s Fantasy
  • ‘The Burned Hand Teaches Most About Fire’: Applying Traumatic Stress and Ecological Frameworks to Tolkien’s Tales of Displacement and Resettlement Across Cultures in Middle-earth
  • The Invisible Other: Tolkien’s Dwarf Women and the “Feminine Lack”
  • Projecting the myths, culture and history of India onto Tolkien’s worlds
  • The Lossoth: indigeneity, identity and anti-racism
  • The problematic perimeters of Elrond Half-elven and Ronald English-Catholic
  • Listening to each other: Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth
  • Forgive Saruman? : Tolkien’s Queer The Lord of the Rings
  • The desire for the ring: the adventures of an Indian scholar in his quest for the perilous kingdom
  • Queer Atheists, Agnostics and Animists, Oh, my God!
  • Hidden visions: iconographies of otherness in illustrations of the Soviet bloc for The Lord of the Rings
  • Caste issues in The Lord of the Rings and its multiple Chinese translations
  • Stars Less Strange: An Analysis of Fan Fiction and Representation Within Tolkien’s Fan Community
  • “Something Mighty Queer”: destabilizing Cishetero’s amatonormativity in Tolkien’s works
  • Translation as a means of representation and diversity in Tolkien’s scholarship and fandom

The seminar will take place on July 3 and 4.

Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Now, Tolkien’s society has launched a counter program that will run on July 3.

The Society of Tolkien explains the purpose of their seminar: “When JRR Tolkien created Middle-earth, he filled it with characters, themes and dangers that skipped pages to intrigue, excite and give hope. to its readers. In these sessions we will explore these concepts to celebrate all that makes his works stand the test of time and what we should learn from them today.

They are still accepting topics for submission and have provided a list of recommendations:

  • Analysis of characters, situations and linguistics in books
  • Military doctrine and tactics described in books or movies
  • Themes, lessons and allegories taken from or used by Tolkien
  • works influenced by Tolkien’s writing
  • works that influenced Tolkien’s writing
  • History of Middle-earth

Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Not only do they provide a list of recommended topics, but they also include topics that will not be covered in the seminar.

They include:

  • Concepts not included in Tolkien’s writing
  • The Black Speech of Mordor
  • General madness

The seminar will begin at 3:00 p.m. BST or 10:00 a.m. EDT and run until 5:00 p.m. BST or 12:00 p.m. EDT.

Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Which seminar will you attend?

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