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

The Society of Tolkien recently announced a counter program to The Tolkien Society's upcoming "Tolkien And Diversity" seminar.

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

The Tolkien Society previously announced their Tolkien And Diversity seminar back in February.

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

Related: The 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 a discourse on diversity within Tolkien’s works and his place within modern society?”

They further stated, “Beyond his secondary-world, diversity further encompasses Tolkien’s readership and how his texts exist within the primary world.”

They then asked, “Who is reading Tolkien? How is he understood around the globe? How may 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 requires further examination,” The Tolkien Society declared.

“Additionally, how a character’s identity shapes and influences its place within Tolkien’s secondary-world still requires greater attention,” they added.

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

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

As for the topics for the papers 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 academia and readership
  • Identity within Tolkien’s works
  • Alterity in Tolkien’s works
Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Related: The Tolkien Society’s Summer Seminar 2021 Will Focus On “Tolkien And Diversity”

More recently, they revealed the schedule and the papers 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 Problem of Pain: Portraying Physical Disability in the Fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien
  • “The Burnt Hand Teaches Most About Fire”: Applying Traumatic Stress and Ecological Frameworks to Narratives of Displacement and Resettlement Across Cultures in Tolkien’s Middle-earth
  • The Invisible Other: Tolkien’s Dwarf-Women and the ‘Feminine Lack’
  • Projecting Indian Myths, Culture and History onto Tolkien’s Worlds
  • The Lossoth: Indigeneity, Identity, and Antiracism
  • The Problematic Perimeters of Elrond Half-elven and Ronald English-Catholic
  • Hearkening to the Other: Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth
  • Pardoning Saruman?: The Queer in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
  • Desire of the Ring: An Indian Academic’s Adventures in her Quest for the Perilous Realm
  • Queer Atheists, Agnostics, and Animists, Oh, My!
  • Hidden Visions: Iconographies of Alterity in Soviet Bloc Illustrations for The Lord of the Rings
  • Questions of Caste in The Lord of the Rings and its Multiple Chinese Translations
  • Stars Less Strange: An Analysis of Fanfiction and Representation within the Tolkien Fan Community
  • “Something Mighty Queer”: Destabilizing Cishetero Amatonormativity in the Works of Tolkien
  • Translation as a means of representation and diversity in Tolkien’s scholarship and fandom

The Seminar will take place on July 3rd and July 4th.

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

Now, The Society of Tolkien has launched a counter program that will run on July 3rd. 

The Society of Tolkien explains the purpose of their seminar, “When J.R.R. Tolkien created Middle Earth, he filled it with characters, themes, and dangers that leapt from the pages to intrigue, excite, and give hope to his readers. In these sessions, we’ll explore these concepts to celebrate all that makes his works stand the test of time and what we should take from them today.”

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

  • Analysis of characters, situations, and linguistics in the books
  • Military doctrine and tactics portrayed in the books or movies
  • Themes, lessons, and allegories drawn from or used by Tolkien
  • Works influenced by Tolkien’s writing
  • Works which influenced Tolkien’s writing
  • Middle Earth history
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 discussed during the seminar.

They include:

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

The seminar will begin at 3 PM BST or 10 AM EDT and will run to 5 pm BST or 12:00 PM EDT.

Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Which seminar will you be attending?

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