The Tolkien Society, the famous “educational charity, literary society, and international fan club, devoted to promoting the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien,” has announced that the theme of their second annual Summer Seminar will be “Tolkien and Diversity.”

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Revealing the theme in a February 15th call for papers, The Tolkien Society explained that they had been “spurred by recent interpretations of Tolkien’s creations and the cast list of the upcoming Amazon show The Lord of the Rings” to choose the theme of “Tolkien and Diversity,” as they believed it to be “crucial we discuss the theme of diversity in relation to Tolkien.”

“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?” The Tolkien Society continued. “Beyond his secondary-world, diversity further encompasses Tolkien’s readership and how his texts exist within the primary world.”

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The Tolkien Society further asked, “Who is reading Tolkien? How is he understood around the globe? How may these new readings enrich current perspectives on Tolkien?”

“Representation is now more important than ever and Tolkien’s efforts to represent (or ignore) particular characteristics requires further examination,” concluded The Tolkien Society. “Additionally, how a character’s identity shapes and influences its place within Tolkien’s secondary-world still requires greater attention.”

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Noting that “This seminar aims to explore the many possible applications of ‘diversity’ within Tolkien’s works, his adaptations, and his readership,” The Tolkien Society then detailed how “papers may consider, but are not limited to” the following topics:

  • 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

As described by The Tolkien Society, “The Tolkien Society Seminar is a short academic conference of both researcher-led and non-academic presentations on a specific theme pertaining to Tolkien scholarship.”

The seminar will be held online from July 3rd to the 4th and “be free for all” to attend.

What do you make of the theme of “Tolkien and Diversity”? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!

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