Tolkien & medievalism at K’zoo 2016: sneak peek

The preview of the conference program for the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies has now been posted. Although there may still be changes made to the program before the final version is published in February, I’m always eager to see what sessions have been accepted and to plan how I’m going to spend my days in Kalamazoo this year.

The conference runs from May 12 – 15 at Western Michigan University. Keep in mind that the following are excerpts from a preliminary program; for the final version and most accurate information, check out the published schedule when it comes online here.

I’ve highlighted sessions on Tolkien and on medievalism. Even with this narrowing down, you can see that it’s impossible to attend every panel that might be of interest.

Sessions on Tolkien

The conference always features two plenary addresses.  This year, one of those lectures will be delivered by Jane Chance, speaking on Tolkien.

Friday 8:30 a.m. Plenary Lecture:
How We Read J. R. R. Tolkien Reading Grendel’s Mother.  
Jane Chance (Rice Univ.)

Other sessions focusing on Tolkien:

Thursday 10:00 a.m.
Fathering, Fostering, Translating, and Creating in the Works of J. R. R. Tolkien
Session 11 Fetzer 1040
Sponsor: Organizer: History Dept., Texas A&M Univ.–Commerce Judy Ann Ford, Texas A&M Univ.–Commerce; Presider: Anne Reaves, Marian Univ.

  • Medieval Fostering in the First and Third Ages of Middle-earth: Elrond as Fóstri and Fóstr-son. Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State Univ.
  • A Stylistic Analysis of Fatherhood and Fostering in The Silmarillion. Robin Anne Reid, Texas A&M Univ.–Commerce
  • Tolkien’s Beowulf: A Translation of Scholar and Poet. Yvette Kisor, Ramapo College
  • Imagined: Tolkien in the Mind of God. Skyler King, College of the Desert

Thursday 1:30 p.m.
Tolkien and Beowulf
Session 58; Fetzer 1040
Sponsor: Tolkien at Kalamazoo
. Organizer: Brad Eden, Valparaiso Univ. Presider: Andrew Higgins, Independent Scholar

  • “A Tight Fitt”: Strategies of Condensation in The Lay of Beowulf. John R. Holmes, Franciscan Univ. of Steubenville
  • Tolkien’s “Freawaru and Ingeld”: A Love Story? Christopher T. Vaccaro, Univ. of Vermont
  • The Christian Singer in Tolkien’s Beowulf. Michael D. Miller, Aquinas College
  • Tolkien’s Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary as a Teaching Text. James L. Baugher, East Tennessee State Univ.

Thursday 3:30 p.m.
In Honor of Verlyn Flieger (A Roundtable)
Session 107; Fetzer 1040
Sponsor: Tolkien at Kalamazoo. Organizer: Brad Eden, Valparaiso Univ. Presider: John D. Rateliff, Independent Scholar

  • Tolkien’s “On Fairy-stories” as a theory of literature. Curtis Gruenler, Hope College
  • The Well and the Book: Flieger and Tolkien on “the Past in the Past”. Deborah Sabo, Univ. of Arkansas–Fayetteville/Arkansas Archeological Survey
  • So Many Wonders: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight according to Tolkien and Flieger. Amy Amendt-Raduege, Whatcom Community College
  • “Linguistic Ghosts”: Anglo-Saxon Poetry as Tolkien’s Tether between Past and Present. Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State Univ.
  • An Elf by Any Other Name: Naming, Language, and Loss in Tolkien’s Legendarium. Benjamin S. W. Barootes, McGill Univ.

Friday 10:00 a.m.
Tolkien and Invented Languages
Session 219; Bernhard 209
Sponsor: Tolkien at Kalamazoo. Organizer & Presider: Brad Eden, Valparaiso Univ.

  • From Goldogrin to Sindarin, or, How Ilkorin Supplanted the “Sweet Tongue of the Gnomes”. Eileen Marie Moore, Cleveland State Univ.
  • Early Explorers and Practicioners of a Shared “Secret Vice”. Andrew Higgins, Independent Scholar
  • “Art Words”: Tolkien’s “Secret Vice” Manuscripts and Radical Linguistic Experimentation. Dimitra Fimi, Cardiff Metropolitan Univ.
  • Tolkien’s Concept of “Native Language” and the English and Welsh Papers at the Bodleian LibraryYoko Hemmi, Keio Univ.

Saturday 10:00 a.m.
Asterisk Tolkien: Filling Medieval Lacunae
Session 345; Fetzer 1060
Sponsor: Dept. of Religious Studies and Philosophy, The Hill School. Organizer and Presider: John Wm. Houghton, Hill School

  • The “Lost” Language of the Hobbits. Deidre Dawson, Independent Scholar
  • “To Recall Forgotten Gods from Their Twilight”: Tolkien, Machen, and Lovecraft. John D. Rateliff, Independent Scholar
  • “Backdreaming” Beowulf’s Scyld Scefing Legend. Anna Smol, Mount Saint Vincent Univ.
  • Bred in Mockery. Michael Wodzak, Viterbo Univ.

Saturday noon
Tolkien at Kalamazoo business meeting. Bernhard 212.

Saturday 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Off-campus session sponsored by Tolkien at Kalamazoo:
Tolkien Unbound
Kalamazoo College, music recital hall, 2-5 p.m.  (Come to the business meeting to arrange transportation)

  • Readers’ theater performance of Tolkien’s Kalevala
  • Eileen Moore, Maidens of Middle-earth 6.


Other sessions on medievalism

Thursday 10 a.m.
Looking Back at the Middle Ages. Presider: Audrey Becker, Marygrove College. Session 35.

  • Discovering and Inventing Early Medieval Lincolnshire, 1710–1755. Dustin M. Frazier Wood, Bethany College
  • A Corruptly Nostalgic Crusade: Horace Walpole’s Medievalism of the Crusades in The Castle of Otranto. Rachel Landers, Univ. of Alabama–Birmingham
  • “Better than Anything Ancient”: Artifce, Authenticity, and William Morris’s Created Scandinavian Past. Mimi Ensley, Univ. of Notre Dame

Thursday 3:30 p.m.
Digitally Teaching the Middle Ages: Case Studies (A Poster Session)
Sponsor: Medieval Electronic Multimedia Organization (MEMO). Organizer: Carol L. Robinson, Kent State Univ.–Trumbull
. Presider:Pamela Clements, Siena College. Session 138.

  • Teaching with King’s Quest Part I
. Kevin A. Moberly, Old Dominion Univ.
  • Teaching with King’s Quest Part II
. Jessica Dambruch, Old Dominion Univ.
  • Game Theories and Teaching Medieval Literature. John McLaughlin, East Stroudsburg Univ.
  • Teaching with Lord of the Rings Online. Carol L. Robinson
  • Role-Playing Games and the Multimedia Wife of Bath Project. Daniel-Raymond Nadon, Kent State Univ.

Friday 1:30 p.m.
Medievalism and Labor (A Roundtable)
Sponsor: International Society for the Study of Medievalism. Organizer and Presider: Amy S. Kaufman, Middle Tennessee State Univ. Session 276.

  • Adjunct Serfs in a Feudal Academy?. Michael R. Evans, Delta College
  • Life in Another Castle: Medieval Studies and Game Design. Serina Patterson, Univ. of British Columbia
  • King’s Scab: Economic Chivalry and Immaterial Labor in the Age of the Sharing Economy. Brent Addison Moberly, Indiana Univ.–Bloomington, and Kevin A. Moberly, Old Dominion Univ.
  • Should I Put This on My C.V.? Medievalism and Academic Labor in Graduate School. Usha Vishnuvajjala, Indiana Univ.–Bloomington
  • Contractions and Expulsions of the Retro-medieval toward the Female Body. Carol L. Robinson, Kent State Univ.–Trumbull

Friday 3:30 p.m.
Medievalism and Anti-Semitism
Sponsor: International Society for the Study of Medievalism. Organizer: Amy S. Kaufman, Middle Tennessee State Univ. Presider:Martin B. Shichtman, Eastern Michigan Univ. Session 328.

  • Medieval Heritage and Nazi Rituals: Historical Pageants in the Upper Palatinate. Richard Utz, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • William Dudley Pelley: An American Nazi in King Arthur’s Court. Kevin J. Harty, La Salle Univ.
  • Medievalism in Contemporary American Anti-Semitism. Paul B. Sturtevant, Smithsonian Institution

Friday 3:30 p.m.
Premodern Rulers and Postmodern Viewers: Gender and Sex in Medieval Film and Television 
Sponsor: Royal Studies Journal. Organizer and Presider: Janice North, Univ of Arkansas-Fayetteville. Session 313.

  • Melusine, Magic, and Maternal Blood in The White Queen. Misty Urban, Muscatine Community College
  • “Men go to battle, women wage war”: Gender Politics in The White Queen (2013). Kavita Mudan Finn, Independent Scholar
  • A New Isabel for the Twenty-First Century. Emily S. Beck, College of Charleston
  • Queering Isabella: The “She-Wolf of France” in Film and Television. Michael R. Evans, Delta College

Friday 3:30 p.m.
Medieval Studies and Medievalism, Past and Present
Organizer: Christina M. Heckman, Augusta Univ. Presider: Christina Heckman. Session 295. [updated listing]

  • Gower among the Protestants: A Medieval Poet, Post-reform. F. Yeager, Univ. of West Florida
  • Church History and the Sound of Words in N. S. F. Grundtvig’s Brunanburh and Phoenix Ballads. Robert E. Bjork, Arizona State Univ.

Saturday 1:30 p.m.
A Session of Ice and Fire: Medievalism in the Game of Thrones Franchise
Sponsor: Tales after Tolkien Society Organizer: Helen Young, La Trobe Univ. Presider: Geoffrey B. Elliott, Oklahoma State Univ.–Stillwell. Session 417.

  • Forging and Reforging Valyrian Steel: The Role of Arthurian Sword Motifs in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Alexandra Garner, Bowling Green State Univ.
  • Peaceweaving in Westeros. Carol Parrish Jamison, Armstrong State Univ.
  • Dragons, Alliances, Power, and Gold: Disruptor Beam’s Game of Thrones Ascent. Shiloh R. Carroll, Tennessee State Univ.

Saturday 1:30 p.m.
Childhood/Innocence in Victorian Medievalism
Organizer: Daniel Najork, Arizona State Univ.; Eileen A. Joy, BABEL Working Group Presider: Daniel Najork. Session 386.

  • Alice, Dream Visions, and Victorian Childhood. William Racicot, Independent Scholar
  • Victorian Medievalism and the Construction of the Innocent Male Body in the Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Cheryl Jaworski, Univ. of California–Santa Barbara
  • Medieval Fantasy and the Neo-Victorian Child in C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia Heather L. N. Hess, Univ. of Tennessee–Knoxville

Saturday 3:30 p.m.
In Fashions Reminiscent: The Overlapping Objects, Discourses, and Ideas of the Sixties and the Middle Ages
Sponsor: punctum books. Organizers & presiders: Geoffrey W. Gust, Stockton Univ.; John F. O’Hara, Stockton Univ.; Eileen A. Joy, BABEL Working Group
Geoffrey W. Gust, John F. O’Hara, and Eileen A. Joy. Session 465.

  • Chaucer in the Stoned Age. Candace Barrington, Central Connecticut State Univ.
  • Trees Again: Time Travel with Plants. Lara Farina, West Virginia Univ.
  • Medievalism and the End(s) of Empire in 1960s Science Fiction: Frank Herbert’s Dune and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. Scott Wells, California State Univ.–Los Angeles
  • Sounds of Silence: Popular Existentialism and Medieval Autofiction. Christopher Jensen, Florida State Univ.

Sunday 10:30 a.m.
Fanfiction in Medieval Studies
Organizer: Anna Wilson, Univ. of Toronto Presider: Anna Wilson. Session 524.

  • Strange Attraction to Sacred Places: Reading Fannish Fantasies in a Copy of Mandevilles’s Travels. Alison Harper, Univ. of Rochester
  • Choose Your Own Arthur: Canon and Agency in Choice of Games’ Pendragon. Rebecca Slitt, Choice of Games, LLC
  • Code-Switching Media: Vernacular Medievalisms and the Queer Lives of Mulan. Jonathan Hsy, George Washington Univ.
  • Charlemagne Fanfiction and Collective Identity in Fourteenth-Century England. Elizabeth Williamsen, Minnesota State Univ.–Mankato


Let me know if I’ve missed any sessions on Tolkien or medievalism.


3 responses to “Tolkien & medievalism at K’zoo 2016: sneak peek”

  1. You have missed Premodern Rulers and Postmodern Viewers, Saturday at 3:30, Session 313. The topic is gender and sex in medievalism.


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