Tolkien Sessions at The International Medieval Conference at Kalamazoo 2020

The program preview for the 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University has been up for a little while now, and I thought I would share the Tolkien-themed panels that are a part of the program!

The conference takes place May 7- 10

Thanks to Tales after Tolkien, Tolkien at Kalamazoo, The Fantasy Research Hub at the University of Glasgow, William Fliss, and Elizabeth A. Terry-Roisin for organizing the panels!


On Thursday, May 7:

10:00am–“Medieval World-Building: Tolkien, His Precursors and Legacies”

The papers will be:• Tolkien, Robin Hood, and the Matter of the Greenwood,
Perry Neil Harrison, Fort Hays State Univ.
• Valinor in America: Faerian Drama and the Disenchantment of Middle-earth, John D. Rateliff, Independent Scholar
• Tolkien’s Golden Trees and Silver Leaves: Do Writers Build the Same World for Every Reader, Luke Shelton, Univ. of Glasgow
• Infinity War of the Ring: Parallels between the Conflict within Sauron and Thanos, Jeremy Byrum, Independent Scholar


On Friday, May 8:

1:30pm–“Deadscapes: Wastelands, Necropoli, and Other Tolkien-Inspired Places of Death, Decay, and Corruption (A Panel Discussion)”

The papers will be:• Sites of Memory in Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings,
Geoffrey B. Elliott
• Death and Politics in the Fourth World: Apocalypse and Recovery in the Earthdawn Roleplaying Games, Karol Rybaltowski, FASA Games, Inc.
• “Beorhtnoth we bear, not Beowulf”: Descriptive Restraint in The Homecoming of Beorthnoth, Beorhthelm’s Son, Brian McFadden, Texas Tech Univ.
• “Filled with Echoes”: Norse and Celtic Elements of Tolkien’s Early Realms of the Dead, Amy M. Amendt Raduege, Whatcom College

6:00pm–Tales after Tolkien Society Business Meeting


Saturday, May 9

10:00am–“Tolkien and Se Wyrm”

The papers will be:• A Womb of One’s Own: The Power of Feminine Spaces over the Mythical Phallus, Annie Brust, Kent State Univ.
• Signum Draco Magno Scilicet, or, Earendel and the Dragons: Heavenly Warfare in Medieval European and Tolkienian Annals, Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State Univ.
• Of Serpents and Sin, Michael A. Wodzak, Viterbo Univ.

12:00pm–Tolkien at Kalamazoo Business Meeting
1:30pm–“Tolkien’s Paratexts, Appendices, Annals, and Marginalia (A Roundtable)”
The papers will be:
• Materiality in Tolkien’s Medievalism: The Production of Secondary Manuscript Traditions, Brad Eden, Independent Scholar
• A Letter To a Friend: The “King’s Letter” as Para-text in The Lord of the Rings, Andrew Higgins, Independent Scholar
• Finding and Organizing Tolkien’s Invented Languages,
Eileen Marie Moore, Cleveland State Univ.
Do Young Readers Care What Authors, Editors, or Publishers Think? Young Readers’ Engagement with Paratext and Epitexts of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Luke Shelton, East Tennessee State Univ.
• The Things He Left Behind: Signatures, Marginalia, and Ephemera in Tolkien’s Irish Library, Kristine A. Swank, Univ. of Glasgow.


3:30pm–“Tolkien’s Chaucer”

The papers will be:
• Romance and Sexuality in Tolkien’s Lost Chaucer, Yvette Kisor, Ramapo College
• Tolkien, Chaucer, and the History of Ideas, Sharin F. Schroeder, National Taipei Univ. of Technology
• Travel, Redemption, and Pilgrimage Redux, Victoria Wodzak, Viterbo Univ.


Sunday, May 10:

8:30am–“Tolkien and Manuscript Studies”

The papers will be:
• Cotton MS Vitellius A.XII and Tolkien’s “Asterisk” History of the Lord’s Prayer, John R. Holmes, Franciscan Univ. of Steubenville
• Tolkien, Manuscripts, and Dialect, Edward L. Risden, St. Norbert College
• God and the Artist: Francis Thompson (1859–1907) and Sub-Creation, Brad Eden, Independent Scholar

10:30am–“The End of Game of Thrones in History and Literature”

The papers will be:
• The End of Game of Thrones: Contra-Lewis and Tolkien, Knighthood, Kingship, and the Realm, Elizabeth A. Terry-Roisin
• George R. R. Martin’s Muscular Medievalism: Masculinity, Violence, and Fantasy, Steven Bruso, Endicott College
• Waking the Dragon: Daenerys’s Mad Turn and the Politics of Colonialism in Game of Thrones, Thomas Blake, Austin College


You can find the entire sneak preview of the program, if you like!

(Also, there will be a Tolkien symposium the day before the conference. I will post more details about that when I have them!)

Online Congress registration opens in February, I would love to see you there!

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