CFP: Tolkien and Fantasy sessions at ICMS, Kalamazoo

We are seeking abstracts for two sessions on J.R.R. Tolkien and Young Adult Fantasy, sponsored by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, for the 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University), to be held online on 9-14 May 2022.

Tolkien and the Medieval Animal

Organised by Kris Swank

The emerging field of “animal studies” shifts critical thought away from an assumption of human supremacy and instead explores the web of interdependence that enmeshes humans with all other forms of life (Crane 2015: 1). As Anna Tsing puts it, “Human nature is an interspecies relationship” (2012: 144). But these conceptions are not new. Susan Crane writes, “The people of medieval Britain lived in daily contact with domestic and wild animals. Forest and wasteland loomed over settlements, and even city streets teemed with all kinds of creatures” (2012: 1).

The medieval animal is explored in a number of recent monographs, e.g. Animals in the Middle Ages by Nona C. Flores (2000), The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages, 2nd ed., by Joyce E. Salisbury (2010), Animal Encounters: Contacts and Concepts in Medieval Britain by Susan Crane (2012), and Medieval Pets by Kathleen Walker-Meikle (2021), among others. Animals mattered to J.R.R. Tolkien, too, and his writings frequently engage with medieval conceptions of the interspecies relationships between humans and non-human animals. A few examples include Farmer Giles and his dog, Garm, Gandalf and Shadowfax, and bestiary animals Fastitocalon, the Oliphaunt, and dragons. Lists of animals found in Middle-earth are available online (e.g. here and here).

We welcome proposals for this paper session on “Tolkien and the Medieval Animal.” Interdisciplinary topics are welcome, and scholars might engage with a number of diverse fields, such as anthropology, art history, biology, communication, geography, history, literary studies, philosophy, psychology, sociology, etc. Panelists may also employ various theoretical perspectives.

For any questions on this session please contact Kris Swank at 2464732s@student.gla.ac.uk.

The Global Middle Ages in Young Adult Fantasy

Organised by Grace Ann Thomas Worm

Contemporary trends in Young Adult fantasy literature demonstrate a close relationship between young adult stories and a global medieval settings. Young Adult fantasies often use medieval settings to position arguments around identity, race, culture, class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, violence, environmentalism, technology, folklore, and magic. We want to open a conversation about the turn toward a Global Middle Ages in Young Adult fantasy and its opportunities and challenges for new voices, groups, cultures, and readers.

Since the days of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, settings for fantasy novels have largely been modelled upon the medieval North: the British Isles and Scandinavia. In the last decade, a wave of emerging voices in the field of Young Adult fantasy have turned to the rich variety of cultural models, mythologies, and folklore traditions of the “Global Middle Ages,” that is pre-modern Africa, Asia, the Americas, Austronesia, even eastern and southern Europe. Among this wave of authors who write on global medievalism are Tomi Adeyemi, Renée Ahdieh, P. Djèlí Clark, Hafsah Faizal, Julie Kagawa, Nnedi Okrafor, Rebecca Roanhorse, Nghi Vo, Neon Yang, and many others.

We want to reveal not only cultures which have previously been silenced, but also groups which have been silenced, including women, the enslaved, indigenous peoples, queer, or disabled groups.

For any questions on this session please contact Grace Worm at g.worm.1@research.gla.ac.uk.

How to submit your abstract

All proposals must be submitted through the International Congress on Medieval Studies site: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/call

The proposal deadline is 15 September 2021

References

Crane, S. (2012). Animal Encounters: Contacts and Concepts in Medieval Britain (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Tsing, A. (2012). Unruly Edges: Mushrooms as Companion Species: for Donna Haraway. Environmental Humanities 1, available at: https://read.dukeupress.edu/environmental-humanities/article/1/1/141/8082/Unruly-Edges-Mushrooms-as-Companion-SpeciesFor

Crane, S. (2015). ‘Medieval Animal Studies: Dogs at Work’. Oxford Handbooks Online, available at: https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935338.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199935338-e-103

Image Credits

Man with hunting dogs. Marginal drawing from Luttrell Psalter. Originally published in England East Anglia; circa 1325-1335. Photograph from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest, 2 Mar 2017.

Medieval Cosplaying. @ Grace Worm

Tolkien Reading Day – Reading from The Lord of the Rings

To celebrate this year’s Tolkien Reading Day theme of ‘Hope and Courage’, the Tolkien Society and the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow are excited to release the last of three extracts from Tolkien’s writings. In this extract, which comes from The Lord of the Rings, Sam takes hope from a star over the Ephel Dúath. Accompanying the extract are a collection of readings in a diverse range of languages that have been lovingly created by members of the Society and Centre.

We are grateful to the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins for permission to share this extract and videos. The videos will remain live until just after the end of Tolkien Reading Day (25th March 2021). We are also immensely grateful to our amazing volunteers: Tolkien Society members, as well as students and staff from the Centre, who took the time to record our chosen extracts in French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese! You can find their readings from The Hobbit here, and from The Silmarillion here.

On Tolkien Reading Day itself tomorrow (25th March), don’t forget to join us and our special guests for one of our three live webinars, to share your own reading from Tolkien and discuss how his work inspires hope and courage! Here are the links to book:

Register for the Morning Session 

Register for the Midday Session 

Register for the Evening Session 

Meanwhile, the Society and the Centre will be posting about this extract on their social media profiles and you can join in by visiting the Society’s on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, or the Centre’s FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and share your reactions to the extracts using the hashtag #TolkienReadingDay2021.

The Lord of the Rings ‘Hope and Courage’ Extract and Readings

Download and read the extract from The Lord of the Rings here:

The Lord of the Rings Extract (Word document)

The Lord of the Rings Extract (PDF document)

[These extracts are no longer available to download because the permission from the Tolkien Estate has now expired]

Below are the readings that you can watch and listen to at your own pleasure.

[These video recordings are no longer available to watch because the permission from the Tolkien Estate has now expired]

Tolkien Reading Day – Reading from The Silmarillion

To celebrate this year’s Tolkien Reading Day theme of ‘Hope and Courage’, the Tolkien Society and the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow are excited to release the second of three extracts from Tolkien’s writings. In this extract, which comes from The Silmarillion, Lúthien dares to enchant Morgoth himself. Accompanying the extract are a collection of readings in a diverse range of languages that have been lovingly created by members of the Society and Centre.

We are grateful to the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins for permission to share this extract and videos. The videos will remain live until just after the end of Tolkien Reading Day (25th March 2021). We are also immensely grateful to our amazing volunteers: Tolkien Society members, as well as students and staff from the Centre, who took the time to record our chosen extracts in French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese! Keep an eye on this blog for the extract from The Lord of the Rings tomorrow (Wednesday 24th), and you can also check yesterday’s extract and readings from The Hobbit here.

On Tolkien Reading Day itself (Thursday 25th March), don’t forget to join us and our special guests for one of our three live webinars, to share your own reading from Tolkien and discuss how his work inspires hope and courage! Here are the links to book:

Register for the Morning Session 

Register for the Midday Session 

Register for the Evening Session 

Meanwhile, the Society and the Centre will be posting about this extract on their social media profiles and you can join in by visiting the Society’s on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, or the Centre’s FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and share your reactions to the extracts using the hashtag #TolkienReadingDay2021.

The Silmarillion ‘Hope and Courage’ Extract and Readings

Download and read the extract from The Silmarillion here:

Silmarillion Extract (Word document)

Silmarillion Extract (PDF document)

[These extracts are no longer available to download because the permission from the Tolkien Estate has now expired]

Below are the readings that you can watch and listen to at your own pleasure.

[These video recordings are no longer available to watch because the permission from the Tolkien Estate has now expired]

Tolkien Reading Day – Reading from The Hobbit

To celebrate this year’s Tolkien Reading Day theme of ‘Hope and Courage’, the Tolkien Society and the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow are excited to release the first of three extracts from Tolkien’s writings. This extract comes from The Hobbit and follows Bilbo Baggins as he musters his courage to enter Smaug’s lair alone. Accompanying the extract are a collection of readings in a diverse range of languages that have been lovingly created by members of the Society and Centre.

We are grateful to the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins for permission to share this extract and videos. The videos will remain live until just after the end of Tolkien Reading Day (25th March 2021). We are also immensely grateful to our amazing volunteers: Tolkien Society members, as well as students and staff from the Centre, who took the time to record our chosen extracts in French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese! Keep an eye on this blog for extracts from The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd) and the day after (Wednesday 24th).

On Tolkien Reading Day itself (25th March), don’t forget to join us and our special guests for one of our three live webinars, to share your own reading from Tolkien and discuss how his work inspires hope and courage! Here are the links to book:

Register for the Morning Session 

Register for the Midday Session 

Register for the Evening Session 

Meanwhile, the Society and the Centre will be posting about this extract on their social media profiles and you can join in by visiting the Society’s on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, or the Centre’s FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and share your reactions to the extracts using the hashtag #TolkienReadingDay2021.

The Hobbit ‘Hope and Courage’ Extract and Readings

Download and read the extract from The Hobbit here:

Hobbit Extract (Word document)

Hobbit Extract (PDF document)

[These extracts are no longer available to download because the permission from the Tolkien Estate has now expired]

Below are the readings that you can watch and listen to at your own pleasure.

[These video recordings are no longer available to watch because the permission from the Tolkien Estate has now expired]

Tolkien Reading Day 2021 – Guest Speakers

We have enjoyed working with the Tolkien Society to co-host this year’s Tolkien Reading Day on 25th March 2021. Many thanks to everyone who has been engaging with our joint interactive social media campaign, and have been responding to the weekly prompts. If you want to catch up with all the action so far, search for hashtag #TolkienReadingDay2021.

As the actual day itself draws near, we’re proud to announce guest speakers for each of our live events on the 25th of March:

Scholar in Residence

Dr Dimitra Fimi, co-director of the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, author of Tolkien, Race, and Cultural History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), co-editor of A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages, and twice winner of Tolkien Society awards for her work on Tolkien, will participate in all three events as Scholar in Residence. She is looking forward to interacting with everyone and celebrating Tolkien’s work!

Morning Meeting (book your place here)

We will be joined by Dr Anna Vaninskaya (University of Edinburgh), author of Fantasies of Time and Death: Dunsany, Eddison, Tolkien (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020); and Marcel Aubron-Bülles, independent scholar and author of The Tolkienist blog.

Afternoon Meeting (book your place here)

We look forward to welcoming Dr Kristine Larsen (Central Connecticut University), who has written extensively about astronomy and science in Tolkien’s works; and James Tauber, who runs the Digital Tolkien Project.

Evening Meeting (book your place here)

In our last meeting of the day we will host Dr Andrew Higgins, co-editor of the extended edition of Tolkien’s A Secret Vice, and an expert on Tolkien’s invented languages; and Dr Una McCormack, New York Times bestselling author, broadcaster, academic.

Join us on the 25th of March and share your own favourite parts of Tolkien’s rich and multi-layered work and world! Here are the links to book again:

Register for the Morning Session 

Register for the Midday Session 

Register for the Evening Session 

Also, keep an eye on our blog – next week we will be releasing videos of Tolkien fans and scholars reading selected extracts that showcase hope and courage in Tolkien’s works in many different languages!

Tolkien Reading Day 2021

The University of Glasgow Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic is very proud to announce that we have partnered with the Tolkien Society (TS) to host this year’s Tolkien Reading Day! 

Each year, Tolkien Reading Day is held on the 25th of March. The purpose of the event is to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages.  

The theme of this year’s Tolkien Reading Day is Hope and Courage. What will you be reading? 

We are working with the Tolkien Society to create engaging and interactive social media throughout March. Then, we will come together on the 25th of March, when the Centre will be hosting three Zoom meetings for readers around the world to share their favourite passages and react to the passages shared by others. 

Does this sound like fun? Do you want to be involved? Here are the best ways to join in the fun: 

Follow the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube and the Tolkien Society on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube. Watch out for posts throughout the month! 

Share your stories, comments, and photos on any social media platform and use the hashtag #TolkienReadingDay2021. Most of all, we’d love to see videos of you reading! 

If you want to attend a Zoom session on March 25th, we have three opportunities. With sessions in the morning, midday, and evening (UK time), we hope that we can find a time that matches everyone’s time zone. Please use these Eventbrite links to register for your preferred session! (Please note that the times shown on the Eventbrite pages automatically sync to your time zone.) 

Register for the Morning Session 

Register for the Midday Session 

Register for the Evening Session 

For more information about Tolkien Reading Day, you can visit the Tolkien Society Website

Celebrating the Centenary of A Voyage to Arcturus

2020 marks 100 years since the publication of A Voyage to Arcturus, a science fiction (or perhaps science fantasy) novel by Scottish author David Lindsay. We will celebrate the centenary of this Scottish cult classic on 19 November, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm via Zoom webinar.

Join the conversation as Lindsay specialists and enthusiasts celebrate the novel and its major influence on key fantasy authors of our time, including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Philip Pullman. A Voyage to Arcturus takes its protagonist from an observatory in Scotland to a new world across space, and explores philosophical and spiritual questions while creating a fully-fledged imaginary planet.

We will be joined by:

Douglas A. Anderson, a Lindsay and Tolkien scholar, who has worked extensively with Lindsay’s manuscripts and is currently preparing a new edition of A Voyage to Arcturus. He blogs at: http://tolkienandfantasy.blogspot.com/.

Nina Allan, award-winning speculative fiction author, whose recent novel The Rift won both the British Science Fiction Association Award and the Red Tentacle Award for Best Novel and references A Voyage to Arcturus.

Professor Robert Davis, Professor of Religious and Cultural Education, who has written extensively on speculative fiction and has corresponded with Philip Pullman on A Voyage to Arcturus.

The event is free but ticketed. Please book your ticket here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/celebrating-the-centenary-of-a-voyage-to-arcturus-tickets-117744000475

This event is presented by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic via the College of Arts at the University of Glasgow as part of the Being Human festival, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, taking place 12–22 November. For further information please see beinghumanfestival.org.