Tolkien conference season 2015

It’s time to start organizing my travel to various conferences this spring and summer. I wish I could attend all of these meetings, but I’ll be fortunate enough to go to a couple of them at least. My list focuses on North American conferences because I know those best, but please let me know in the comments if there are others. I hope my list will demonstrate the healthy state of academic Tolkien Studies and maybe entice you to go to one of these events — if you’re not already booking your tickets. And while there will be plenty of professional scholars at these conferences,  most of these events draw a lively mix of academics, independent scholars, writers, artists, fans of all kinds.

The first meeting will be held in a few weeks – not exactly springtime where I live, but still it does kick off the conference season:

There and Back Again: Tolkien in 2015 OSU Tolkien 2015: There and Back Again Conference, Feb 20-21, 2015
The Ohio State University.
February 20-21, 2015

This is the second annual Popular Culture and the Deep Past event sponsored by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Ohio State U.  According to the event website: “this will be a full-fledged conference, itself nested in a broader ‘carnival’ of popular and traditional cultural events and activities.”  Sounds like there will be something for everyone.

Popular Culture/American Culture Association National Conference
Popular Culture Association logo
New Orleans Marriott
April 1-4, 2015

This is a massive conference that draws scholars from a huge variety of fields. The newly established Tolkien Studies area, organized by Robin Reid, is sponsoring eight sessions plus a business meeting for a second year in a row.  The final program should be posted soon on the website.

12th annual Tolkien in Vermont conference
Tolkien in Vermont conference
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT

April 10-11, 2015

This year’s theme is medieval narrative verse, with Michael Drout as the keynote speaker. According to the conference organizer, Chris Vaccaro, a program will be posted soon on the website. This is usually a small and friendly conference attended by faculty, students, and the general public, with an open mic night on Friday followed by a day of presentations on Saturday.

International Congress on Medieval Studies 
Kalamazoo campus swan pond
University of Western Michigan
Kalamazoo, MI
May  14-17, 2015

This annual conference draws thousands of medievalists every year, but it also includes anyone interested in the scholarly study of Tolkien (not always the same as a medievalist).  The Tolkien at Kalamazoo group sponsors as many sessions as are allowed by the Congress organizers, and other sponsoring groups have sessions on Tolkien or on medievalisms as well.  You can search through the conference program  for what interests you.

New York City Tolkien Conference
New York City Tolkien ConferenceBaruch College
New York
June 13, 2015

The call for papers is on the site, with a deadline for proposals of April 7, 2015.  The keynote speaker will be Janet Brennan Croft and musical guest of honour, John DiBartolo.

Mythopoeic Society Conference / Mythcon 46
Mythopoeic Society
Hotel Elegante
Colorado Springs, Colorado
July 31-August 3, 2015

The special theme is the Arthurian Mythos.  I expect that more details about the program will appear on the website soon. This conference is usually a nice combination of serious academic papers and fun social events, readings, and more.

International Medieval Congress 
IMC 2015 poster
University of Leeds
July 6-9, 2015

This is the largest conference on medieval studies in Europe. A search through the program found three sessions on Tolkien.

Update February 12: Dr. Dimitra Fimi, who has organized some of these sessions, has more details about sessions on Tolkien, medievalism, fantasy, Arthurian tradition and more on her blog.

And looking ahead towards the end of the summer,  there is always
The Tolkien Society’s Oxonmoot
Tolkien Society
September 10-13, 2015.
St. Anthony’s  College, Oxford

And here are a couple of other conferences that focus on medievalism and that could very well end up sponsoring sessions on Tolkien:

The Middle Ages in the Modern World (MAMO)
June 29 – July 2, 2015
University of Lincoln, Lincoln UK

Update Feb. 12:  The provisional programme is now available. One session on Tolkien and lots of other good panels on various medievalism topics.

International Conference on Medievalism
This conference usually takes place in the fall.  I don’t see any information on the website yet about the next meeting.

I realize on looking over this list that it is heavily skewed towards Tolkien as a medievalist. If there are any other conferences you feel people should know about, please feel free to add them in the comments. It would also be interesting to know about other Tolkien conferences beyond North America and the UK.

Update Feb. 12:  Thanks to Marcel Aubron Bülles  here is another conference program:

German Tolkien Society
University of Aachen
May 1-3, 2015

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