Tolkien Society Summer Seminar 2021
3 – 4 July 2021
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The second Tolkien Society Seminar of 2021 will be held online on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th July 2021 on Zoom. We will additionally be live-streaming the event on our YouTube channel.

About the Seminar

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 online setting of the 2020 seminar saw an increased interest with over 400 attendees from 37 countries. We are delighted to be running another online seminar that will be free for all.

Summer Seminar: Tolkien and Diversity Call for Papers

While interest in the topic of diversity has steadily grown within Tolkien research, it is now receiving more critical attention than ever before. 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. 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?

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. This seminar aims to explore the many possible applications of “diversity” within Tolkien’s works, his adaptations, and his readership.

Papers may consider, but are not limited to:

  • 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

Please ensure that abstracts are a maximum of 300 words and biographies are a maximum of 100 words. Submissions can be made below. The deadline for the call for papers is end of day, Friday 23rd April.


Please log in at 14:45 (GMT) to ensure a prompt start at 15:00 (GMT) on both days.

Saturday 3rd July

Time Speaker Paper
15:00 16:00 10:00 Cordeliah Logsdon Gondor in Transition: A Brief Introduction to Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Rings
15:30 16:30 10:30 Clare Moore The Problem of Pain: Portraying Physical Disability in the Fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien
16:00 17:00 11:00 V. Elizabeth King “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
16:30 17:30 11:30 Sara Brown The Invisible Other: Tolkien’s Dwarf-Women and the ‘Feminine Lack’
17:00 18:00 12:00 BREAK
17:30 18:30 12:30 Sultana Raza Projecting Indian Myths, Culture and History onto Tolkien’s Worlds
18:00 19:00 13:00 Nicholas Birns The Lossoth: Indigeneity, Identity, and Antiracism
18:30 19:30 13:30 Kristine Larsen The Problematic Perimeters of Elrond Half-elven and Ronald English-Catholic
19:00 20:00 14:00 Cami Agan Hearkening to the Other: Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth
19:30 20:30 14:30 CLOSING COMMENTS

Sunday 4th July

Time Speaker Paper
15:00 16:00 10:00 Christopher Vaccaro Pardoning Saruman?: The Queer in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
15:30 16:30 10:30 Sonali Chunodkar Desire of the Ring: An Indian Academic’s Adventures in her Quest for the Perilous Realm
16:00 17:00 11:00 Robin Reid Queer Atheists, Agnostics, and Animists, Oh, My!
16:30 17:30 11:30 Joel Merriner Hidden Visions: Iconographies of Alterity in Soviet Bloc Illustrations for The Lord of the Rings
17:00 18:00 12:00 BREAK
17:30 18:30 12:30 Eric Reinders Questions of Caste in The Lord of the Rings and its Multiple Chinese Translations
18:00 19:00 13:00 Dawn Walls-Thumma Stars Less Strange: An Analysis of Fanfiction and Representation within the Tolkien Fan Community
18:30 19:30 13:30 Danna Petersen-Deeprose “Something Mighty Queer”: Destabilizing Cishetero Amatonormativity in the Works of Tolkien
19:00 20:00 14:00 Martha Celis-Menzoda Translation as a means of representation and diversity in Tolkien’s scholarship and fandom
19:30 20:30 14:30 CLOSING COMMENTS

Who to Contact

If you have any questions or need any further information, please email Will Sherwood at

Paper submission

The call for papers is now closed.


Please register whether you are or are not a member of the Tolkien Society.