The Tolkien Society’s second seminar of 2021 will have a focus on “Tolkien And Diversity.”

Source: The Lord of the Rings

The Tolkien Society describes their seminars as “short academic conference[s] of both researcher-led and non-academic presentations on a specific theme pertaining to Tolkien scholarship.”

As noted above, the theme for their second seminar of 2021 is Tolkien and Diversity.

Source: The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic

The Tolkien Society previously put out a call for papers on the subject that will be discussed during the seminar.

They explained, “Spurred by recent interpretations of Tolkien’s creations and the cast list of the upcoming Amazon show The Lord of the Rings, it is crucial we discuss the theme of diversity in relation to Tolkien.”

They elaborated, “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? Beyond his secondary-world, diversity further encompasses Tolkien’s readership and how his texts exist within the primary world. Who is reading Tolkien? How is he understood around the globe? How may these new readings enrich current perspectives on Tolkien?”

Source: The Return of the King

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

They then explained the purpose of the seminar. “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

The Tolkien Society then prompted a number of topics that papers should focus on.

They included:

  • 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 Two Towers

The submission deadline for papers was April 23rd and they have already announced the papers that will be discussed during the seminar, which takes place between July 3rd and July 4th.

The titles of the papers that will be discussed 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

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

The seminar will be held via Zoom on July 3rd and July 4th. It will also be livestreamed to The Tolkien Society’s YouTube channel.

What do you make of The Tolkien Society making their second seminar of 2021 about Tolkien and Diversity?