This coming spring and summer will see a number of Tolkien conference sessions in the US: you might have to pace yourself carefully! I’m focusing on American conferences, since those are the ones I know best — let me know if there are others I’ve missed. I would also love to hear about upcoming Tolkien conference sessions outside of the United States.
In April, two conferences will occur almost back-to-back. If I can scrounge up enough time and money, I would love to be able to go from one directly to the other.
Tolkien in Vermont: April 11-13, 2014
First is the 11th annual Tolkien in Vermont conference to be held April 11 – 13 at the University of Vermont. The theme of the 2014 conference is “Bombadil and other Middle-earth Mysteries” though papers on any topic will be considered. Keynote speaker Kristine Larsen is well known for her research on science in Tolkien’s works, and she has been a frequent contributor to this conference. The Vermont conference has always been an intimate gathering with a lot of student participation. It provides a great opportunity to get to know people and, besides enjoying a full day of presentations, to have some fun in the Friday night readings or the Sunday morning Springle-ring that the university Tolkien Club typically organizes. The call for papers can be found on the conference website, which is in the process of adding the list of papers given in past years: http://tolkienvt.org/. Deadline for proposals: January 18, 2014.
Tolkien sessions at PCA/ACA: April 16-19, 2014
From the Vermont conference, you can head down the road to Chicago for the annual Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association conference, to be held April 16-19. This year, Tolkien Studies has been added as a new area on a trial basis. If sufficient interest is shown, Tolkien Studies will become a permanent field in the conference program.
The deadline for submissions has passed, and the conference program has not been posted yet, but several roundtable discussions and Tolkien sessions have been proposed. Look for conference details on the PCA/ACA website: http://pcaaca.org/
Tolkien at Kalamazoo: May 8-11, 2014
“Tolkien at Kalamazoo” is an informal group that has sponsored up to eight sessions annually at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. For 2014, Congress organizers decided to cut back every sponsoring group to a maximum of four sessions, much to the dismay of many participants including the Tolkien group, which has organized very well attended sessions every year. Nonetheless, there will be Tolkien sessions in 2014 on The Fall of Arthur, on Tolkien’s medieval sources, on Tolkien and science, and a “Tolkien Unbound” evening of entertainment. The conference program will be announced in February on the Congress website: http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/
Mythcon 45: August 8-11, 2014
The call for papers has just been posted on the Mythopoeic Society website: http://www.mythsoc.org/mythcon/mythcon-45/papers/. Deadline for submissions is April 15, 2014. The theme of Mythcon 45 is “Where Fantasy Fits,” and proposals can address the work of the Inklings (Tolkien, Lewis, Williams) or any other aspects of the conference theme. Richard C. West will be the scholar guest of honour and Ursula Vernon, the author guest of honour. The conference will take place at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts.